Sunday, July 20, 2008

Names Matter

In its very belated 'fessing up news relelase, the Orlando Sentinel stated it would not release the names of editorial staffers affected by the cuts out of a long-standing policy of "respect for privacy."

Fair enough. But let me elaborate why names matter. Many newspapers and newspaper editors would like nothing more than for The Departed to slink into the night, never to be heard or seen from again.

They do not want to aknowledge how you may have written great stories under trying circumstances, including absurd requests, insane editors, inane edits, looming deadlines and other mayhem. Still, you delivered. And, let's say up front for the grouches among us, that not every story was a gem. The demands of a daily newspaper guarantee that we each have written our fair share of stinkers and forgettable stories.

They do not want to concede that you produced something of value.

They do not want to say that you may be an expert in a given subject and therefore are a fountain of knowledge and resources about the Orlando community.

They do not want to name names because they do not want to put a face on the cost of this enormous transformation in the newspaper business.

They would rather deal with abstract numbers because they are embarrassed about presiding over this mess.

But do not go gently into the good night.

You have earned proper aknowledgment for all the years of hard work that helped keep this community informed through declining newspaper circulation, declining revenue and a revolving door of editors.

You are not a number. Come Tuesday, when the ax falls again, help me name names. Let's put it on the record the decades of seasoned talent that must leave the paper.

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