Kass’s patriotism about his newsroom is both bizarre and naive. Like Trib editor Gerry Kern, Kass tries to argue that the newsroom is a separate operation from the corporate suite or the rest of the company – as if it doesn’t matter what the boys upstairs do. But it does matter. When executives make decisions about marketing strategy, for example, that dictate sending reporters and resources to cover affluent communities instead of city neighborhoods or poor suburbs so their demographic can be presented to advertisers, that’s a perversion of the values Kass thinks his newspaper holds. When the Trib website becomes littered with “Comic Con Hotties” and “Hot Sports Wives & Girlfriends,” that’s an editorial matter influenced – explicitly or implicitly – from the top. When the corporate hacks install as managing editor of Kass’s newsroom the former editor of RedEye who, for all I know, has never reported a one-alarm fire, that impacts the product. And who does Kass think Kern has to make happy – and how? – to keep his job?
And that’s not even to address a newsroom that vies for the most dysfunctional office politics in the land.
That doesn’t mean the Tribune doesn’t ever do outstanding work. It does. But that doesn’t absolve its blind spots and embarrassments.
Why can’t people be honest about this? To admit it is NOT tantamount to bashing the work of yourself or your colleagues.