January 1, 2007
What should have been a week of holiday jubilation has turned out to
be a week of Hell.
It started last Friday with a memo from the board saying the web design
budget was to be increased by 400% starting December 26.
At first I was elated, thinking the board finally understood what it
took to run a modern metropolitan newspaper comparable to The New York
Times or the New York Post.
The design staff has been grumbling about their low wages and long hours,
and I’d heard rumors that people were talking about striking.
This budget increase could solve all of that.
That much money could have not only gotten my web design department
up to speed, but also spilled over to the page designers and copy editors.
We could even hire a second fact-checker.
I made the announcement to the design staff, and everyone celebrated
it as a Christmas miracle.
Then the board dropped the bomb on me.
I received a Fed Ex package with the plans for the web design department
to take over web design and maintenance for all International Jones,
Inc. web pages on the 26th.
All of them.
Jones Media Group.
Washington Pulse magazine.
So, the day after Christmas I reassembled the web deign staff and informed
them that they were inheriting the IJI web empire rather than holiday
Needless to say, they walked out.
Every last one.
I set about hiring some web design scabs, which is surprisingly easy
in Manhattan, and informed the rest of the editorial and design staff
that they’d be working overtime.
No one quit this time.
During the week, however, a conspiracy of saboteurs seems to have grown
throughout the ranks.
On Sunday, all of the IJI web pages ceased functioning and The Morning
After Post Manhattan’s headline, both in print and on the Internet,
read, “Gerald Ford Hanged!”
In questioning my staff, they not only claimed not to know who was responsible,
but each and every one of them claims not to have been involved in the
printing of Sunday’s issue.
Not a single writer, photographer, editor, copy editor, page designer,
web designer, printer, truck driver or paper boy will admit to writing,
shooting, editing, designing, printing or distributing Sunday’s
I have come to accept that I have a staff of disgruntled malcontents.
They have their job.
I have mine.
So, to set an example, I fired all of the page designers and hired more
One can’t afford to look weak in these matters.
So, the Post is still falling apart and most of the IJI websites aren’t
working, and I can only imagine what 2007 will bring.
Thanks P.F.- wherever you are.