Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

More Staff Changes at Journal Sentinel

Some being let go, but a big name reportedly hired: Biz Times Editor Steve Jagler set to join the JS.

By - Jun 24th, 2015 05:05 pm
4th and State

The Fourth Estate, at 4th and State

There are more changes afoot at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A source tells me that a number of journalists are leaving, either through retirement or taking a buyout. That includes Deputy Business Editor Gary Miller and Assistant Entertainment Editor Tina Maples.

Journal Sentinel sports reporter Tom Silverstein, President of the Milwaukee Newspaper Guild, the union representing the newspaper’s reporters, says all the buyouts or retirements involve members of management, but said he couldn’t say how many there would be. “The one thing I do know is that no bargaining unit people took buyouts and none are going to be laid off. I’ve been told that is final for this latest round. Hopefully, it stays that way for a long time,” he said.

Maples did not respond to my email. Miller did, and said he is retiring one year early, effective July 2. “I’m considered an essential employee — I would need to be replaced, so I don’t qualify for a buyout,” he noted.

Miller’s replacement, I’m told, will be Steve Jagler, Executive Editor of Biz Times Milwaukee. If so, there is a curious symmetry to the personnel change. Miller served as editor of the Milwaukee Business Journal from 1996 to 2001, before taking a job with the Journal Sentinel. Jagler served as the Business Journal’s managing editor under Miller from 1997-2001, and in 2002 was hired as Executive Editor of the Small Business Times, which became Biz Times Milwaukee in 2008.

If Jagler leaves, that could be a blow to the Biz Times; he has been the face of the publication for many years. The publication has won some journalism awards, but has not had an easy time competing with the much bigger Business Journal.

As I wrote in February, more staff layoffs seem inevitable at the Journal Sentinel, given that the new Journal Media Group it joined on April 1 includes 13 Scripps newspapers, all of whom have been losing money and subscribers for five straight years. Unless a miracle turns that around, the only answer is staff cuts, and the Journal Sentinel likely has the biggest staff of the 14 papers.

The ideal scenario is to cut higher-salaried employees, which might be why members of management are being targeted in this round of cuts.

The precise details are unlikely to ever be revealed by the Journal Sentinel, which has routinely let journalists go without a word about them to readers familiar with their bylines for decades.

When contacted for comment, Journal Sentinel editor George Stanley responded with this: “I’m sorry your email got through. We switched email systems and the spam catcher didn’t move with it. I will address that now.”

Ah. That would explain why George never answers my emails.

He added this jeer: “You’re not a reporter.”

We’ll report more details when we learn them, in the usual fashion, as they leak out from the ever-secretive newspaper.

Categories: Back in the News

17 thoughts on “Back in the News: More Staff Changes at Journal Sentinel”

  1. Observer says:

    I see the bulk of today’s Food section was done by outsourced writers.

  2. TF says:

    ““I’m sorry your email got through. We switched email systems and the spam catcher didn’t move with it. I will address that now.”

    Real classy, George. Must be good to be the king, eh?

  3. JT says:

    “I’m sorry your email got through. We switched email systems and the spam catcher didn’t move with it. I will address that now.”

    I know where the Scripps News Empire can save a couple hundred thousand more dollars in salary; Can George Stanley.

    What a pompous A$$ !!

    Any Journal Sentinel reporter or employee that would send an email like he sent to you would be FIRED on the spot.

    The same should go for this POS. So glad that I cancelled my JS subscription after the endorsement of Scott Walker and the favorable treatment Walker has received from JS reporters during his entire tenure as Governor.

  4. Dave says:

    I have a feeling George Stanley is just the man Scripps Media needs for the job. A giant conservative a$$hole to scrub any remaining journalistic integrity from the JS in the hopes of holding onto their aging ignorant suburban white people demographic.

  5. Dave says:

    Your regular Bob Dohnals, if you will.

  6. David says:

    MJS downward spiral continues. I still pick up a used copy on occasion and it confirms my opinion that cancelation of my subscription 3-years ago and an avid reader since 1958, was the correct option. I could no longer waste my time reading it. So I sought out better options including Urban Milwaukee. I still like having some print material in front of me for reading, instead of a screen.

  7. Daniel Bice says:

    If you’re interested in the entire Stanley-Murphy exchange, here you go:

    Bruce at 2:03 p.m. on June 24: “I’ve heard Gary Miller and Tina Maples taking (sic) buyouts and Steve Jagler joining (sic) the JS. Is that true?”

    George at 2:12 p.m. on June 24: “I’ve heard you wrote that I took Dan Bice’s column away. Is that true? Have you written a correction to your most recent lie? An apology?

    “I’m sorry your email got through. We switched email systems and the spam catcher didn’t move with it. I will address that now.

    “You’re not a reporter.”

    There you go.

  8. tedge says:

    I have disagreed with Bruce Murphy over the years for his attacks on the County Board and the School Board. But, contrary to Mr. Stanley’s opinion, this column provides real news that yet hardly fills the large void left by the MJS. I remember the days when investigative reporters like Mary Zahn alerted us to elder and prison abuse. Stuart Carlson’s cartoons, back in the day, provided more newsworthy information than the entire paper does these days (and they both took buyouts). In this column, the sad decline of Dan Bice was noted; his recent work largely reinforces the observations. I take issue with you yet, Mr. Murphy, but thank you for providing something worth reading. Sometimes I think all we have is Lisa Kaiser, you, and a couple of your colleagues to fill us in on what’s happening around town.

  9. PMD says:

    Regarding Bice’s post, after reading that I wonder who exactly is supposed to look bad.

  10. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Stanley comes off as quite the touchy one, doesn’t he? Then again, his right-wing rag keeps getting scooped by all the other publications on state news and his boy Scotty is going down the drain, so I suppose he’s a little unhappy these days.

    Madison Newspapers also had a big purge of veteran staff this month, despite their owners (anti-union Lee Enterprises) having increased revenues.

    Your liberal media, everybody!!

  11. TF says:

    Stanley’s implication that UrbanMilwaukee is not journalism is bogus. Like tedge above, I’m not some Bruce Murphy groupie but he (and the rest of the folks on this site) provide refreshing coverage of news in this city. Often, news items are fleshed out here that are never mentioned on the JS, which is extremely unfortunate.

  12. Jeremy says:

    Tedge. Lisa Kaiser? Really? Those UWM students doing articles about finding pictures of War Veterans are running circles around Kaiser. Really? Every single story with an underlying agenda. Proof that we all choose our own ideological news sources these days.

  13. Not_termite_anymore says:

    Of course Mr. Stanley is incorrect. We are all journalists and, as most first amendment buffs understand, when someone tries to decided who is a reporter that decision necessarily intends to exclude some from fundamental constitutional rights afforded everyone. I guess Mr. Stanley is no longer a first amendment buff and it could come back to haunt the paper.

  14. M says:

    Mr. Stanley’s refusal to even engage is appalling, though not surprising.

    But he apparently relishes shielding himself from other “voices” in the debate as well. Charlie Sykes said Stanley blocked him on Twitter. Not that I care whose opinions Stanley personally lets in. We already know how tight the filter is for what the JS will reveal or opinions that received a platform.

    But I can imagine he’s got Wes Edens et al on speed dial, the way they cover the arena only as shill-meisters. I’d like to see an arena built but I’d like the decisions made about it based on facts, not visual renderings and feel-good promises of miraculous econ impact.

    The JS may soon be a target for Wes Edens newspaper empire. He just bought the Columbus Dispatch, and has specialized in distressed assets. If he owned the JS it could be a perfect vehicle for framing the news about the town they want to control as “master developer…’
    If so, maybe even more jobs would be lost…

  15. M says:

    Not sure what the point of Dan Bice’s comment was…To call out Bruce M. for not using full sentences and perfect grammar in email queries sent on deadline?

    As for wanting an apology, I think the fact that this site allowed Bice to speak for himself–without any filters restricting JS staff from commenting–pretty much served as a clarification.

    Anyone can add “sics” to this comment if they’ve got nothin’ better to do…I thought those were usually reserved for more formal quotes and historical texts. I guess we all better be on our toes, even in email/comments. I’m a grammarian at heart but happily live in today’s real world where quick communiques are rarely erorr-free…

  16. Dave says:

    Perhaps Mr. Bice is confirming George Stanley is a giant prick.

  17. Bruce Thompson says:

    In contrast to several of the comments here, I feel the J-S often does good work under trying economic times and I hope it lasts for a long, long time.

    Unfortunately, George Stanley’s unprofessional comments make me more pessimistic about its future.

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