If no one knows about it, did it really happen?

Sort of tired of Feder repeatedly claiming without basis that nobody in the Tribune newsroom has spoken up about the nonsense coming down the chute from management over the last two years. Just because we haven’t made a public spectacle of ourselves for your benefit does not mean courageous people in the Tribune newsroom have not fought internally to maintain standards in the face of managers willing to try just about anything to make the radio guys happy. Try to remember the newsroom uprising over the marketing department trying to test-market stories before they were ready for publication. When an issue has grown to the level where we have felt our integrity was directly on the line, we have spoken up. This has been a mess and you’ve done a mostly good job reporting this story, but try to show a little more balance on this issue.

This is a comment that I can only assume comes from a current or former Tribune employee.

I actually DO remember the marketing scandal they’re referring to. That did indeed demonstrate to me a desire on the part of many newsroom folks to stand up to the insane regime of Michaels and his cronies.

But that’s been the only thing we’ve heard about. I’m not doubting the veracity of this comment mind you. What I’m asking is, if no one knows about all these heroic things that people in the newsroom have done to try to maintain standards…does it really matter that they did them?

Let’s flip this around. How would a newspaper reporter feel about a government official saying “Well, we know we have some corruption in our department, but we’ve taken steps to curb that and we’re constantly working on it.” Do you think the reporter would have some follow-up questions? Do you think the reporter would accept it if no more information was offered? What do you think the reporter (and the general public) would think of this government department in general? Would they hold them in high regard after they had to come around and ask what’s been done to stop the corruption? No, they would have preferred there to be no corruption at all, but being realistic, they would have at least preferred an official to own up to it right away and outline EXACTLY what specific steps have been taken to address it.

After the corruption has been exposed and reporters have to come around asking questions, trust in this government department has already been lost, right? Now they have to regain the public’s trust and it might take a while.

The same thing has happened to the Tribune. The New York Times came around asking questions and now all the dirt is out in the open. So it’s already too late to say that something was being done to curb it, because unfortunately no one knows about it. That ship has sailed. What’s important now is how employees conduct themselves from here on out.

Now, let’s imagine something wonderful that could have happened. If there was no media code of silence (http://www.annatarkov.com/the-media-omerta) and employees felt empowered to publicly speak or write about all the efforts they were making to uphold standards…. well, imagine how different things would look now.

The NYT article would have come out and instead of scrambling to defend their integrity, Tribune employees could point to all the work they had been doing to fight their crazy managers.

Telling us about it now, unfair as this is, does them no good. Now i’s safe to say it. Now that the Gerry Kern has shamed and ousted Abrams, now it’s ok to speak up. I’d wager than many employees are thrilled that that NYT piece was written. Because while it has not given them much, it has at least afforded them the ability to speak up and not fear reprisals.

Again though, the speaking up should have come a lot sooner.

Comments are Disabled