Friday, November 12, 2010
I'm hearing burblings that Sherman Frederick and Thomas Mitchell will be spinning that Reid victory was not the coup de grace that ended their regime. I'm fairly confident -- and have sources that have provided some proof -- that it played a pretty big part, but the trouble with any spin whatsoever is that the other alternatives at least as equally if not more professionally bad.
You see, Sherm may be leaving because of his health issues, but that doesn't explain Mitchell's reassignment or the sacking of the GM, Allan Fleming. That's a wholesale housecleaning and it was prompted by something. So, if they weren't sacrificed on that altar, what other choices are there?
* Revenues aren't satisfactory.
* Circulation isn't satisfactory.
* The news product isn't satisfactory.
* The Internet presence isn't satisfactory.
* The image of the company isn't satisfactory.
Pick one, boys!
I find it very doubtful the Righthaven lawsuits issue played into this. Mitchell had nothing to do with that, but he did certainly participate in the Reid-bashing and could be seen as having caused many of the above-listed possibilities. Steve Stern of Stern & Co., which is the subject of one of the Righthaven lawsuits, has a different take, but I think he's engaging in some wishful thinking.
There's just a lot that's weird about all of this, most notably the fairly shoddy way Frederick, Mitchell and Fleming are treated in the R-J story that announces the changes. It opens:
The Las Vegas Review-Journal today named a new publisher to replace longtime publisher Sherman Frederick.
Huh. We didn't even know he needed replacing! The guy's been publisher for, well, we don't really know from the story. He's also a major public figure. If this was a mutually happy parting, the lead would have cast Frederick as the main character. You know, like:
Stephens Media CEO and Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick retired today, leaving behind a tenure [insert most important legacy, if any, here.]
The fact that Mitchell's reassignment was held to the last paragraph is just amazing and really, really insulting to him. His own newspaper now thinks of his tenure as an afterthought. And, again, there's no standard-issue biographical information on his tenure, not a thumbnail of his career or a quote about his accomplishments or even his age.
And Fleming? Not even worth a digital inch. After all this time. Awkward!
Oh, by the way, it's been pointed out to me that the comments section for the R-J story has been closed and comments already left -- some mourned Sherm and Mitch's removals -- were removed. So they don't even want the public to be able to express their support for the men who led this enterprise for all those years. That's just cold.