Journal Sentinel Loses Six More Staff
All veterans taking buyout, as staff continues to be purged.
The bleeding continues at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Six more staff have taken a retirement buyout. They include Mike Mulvey, the political/government editor, Mike Davis, sports editor, and reporters Don Behm, Karen Herzog, Tom Kertscher and Darryl Enriquez. Davis, I’ve heard, will work a couple more weeks before retiring.
The newspaper has shed many copy editors and consolidated its editing staff in recent years. Meanwhile they are losing many reporters.
Herzog was a solid reporter who covered higher education. She is married to real estate reporter Tom Daykin, so that leaves one paycheck still coming to their household, though I’ve now learned she has gotten a job as director of grants and communication with the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
Behm was the classic veteran who covered the environment and county government. Kertscher wrote Poltifact columns, which always felt like they had to be cleared with JS editor George Stanley. Enriquez mostly covered Waukesha County. In addition, business section columnist Steve Jagler left the paper a few weeks ago for a job in media relations at the Graef company.
All told, the paper is probably losing more than 150 years of experience, with the loss off all these veterans.
The departures come just after a risible column by Stanley announcing that “The foundation of all we do is built on beat reporting.”
They have a number of beat reporters for the sports section, but there are precious few real beat reporters elsewhere. One obvious example is Daykin, who covers the hell out of real estate. But who else covers a beat anywhere near as thoroughly?
The morale at the paper, I have heard, is in the pits, with everyone worried about a layoff and only columnist Jim Stingl seen as untouchable. You’re now seeing many staff members imploring people to subscribe to the paper.
Stingl is a throwback to the days when a good columnist could drive print subscriptions, but those are mostly very old readers today. Print subscriptions have dropped from well over 300,000 20 years ago to less than 100,000 today, as I recently wrote.
And the paper’s corporate parent, Gannett, is pushing to cut back and perhaps end print editions of its newspapers. But digital readers are more fickle, read less and digital ads make far less money than the print ads of old.
In short, we are likely to see still more bleeding at the paper. It may still be the state’s largest news publication, but at this point the designation is pretty meaningless.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.