Roaring & Shameless

We’re stoked.

A couple weeks ago the infamous “Yellow Dog” threw an award our way. The
Roar for Powerful Words from the Shameless Lions Writing Circle. Check it out here.

And take a look at the awesome (and very, very homo-centric in a fiery magenta) award:


Among the other winners:

Envy our big, magenta lion! He bites!

LEO on the internets. Again.

LEO has re-launched its news blog. Check it out. We don’t expect it to be competition for The ‘Ville Voice (which you should be reading on a daily basis if you have anything to do with Louisville), but it looks like the paper’s staff will once again be able to give readers an inside look at their operation and a more-frequent-than-weekly dose of Louisvillian outrage.

It’s not hosted on their website because their site is only slightly more useful than those of local television news stations. In other words: LEOweekly.com has been dead in the water for like three years. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe one that the paper’s publisher will recognize isn’t, you know, the end of the world.

By the way: some generous and wealthy news lover out there should give me the skrilla to buy LEO. It’s in dire need of a makeover and the Gannett beast needs competition that LEO was once able to deliver when now-Rep. John Yarmuth was at the helm. A generous, anonymous backer or two could make a killing while at the same time changing the face of their community.

Attention Kentucky Media

Tired of outdated and nonsensical non-compete clauses with your station/outlet/publication?

Interested in putting an end to them once and for all?

Contact Jake to express your concern, share your story or to get involved. Confidentiality assured.

Our goal is to push legislation nixing the non-coms once and for all. Allowing station managers and human resources departments to force good people to leave their beloved career or the state (in order to work) needs to come to an end.

We know someone out there is ready to help. Several have expressed interest. So pony up. We’re willing to help you on the political front.

CWA Takes Herald-Leader to Task

In the ongoing push to get the Herald-Leader and McClatchy Company to treat its employees fairly, the Communication Workers of America lay the facts out on the table in an editorial.

Publisher Tim Kelly’s “Letter to Our Readers” makes it clear that the Herald-Leader’s management either doesn’t understand the meaning of true collective bargaining or has a total disregard for it.

Kelly neglected to mention just how much money the newspaper and its corporate owner, The McClatchy Co., are making. I suspect he omitted this because it would undermine his argument. The Herald-Leader is one of the most profitable enterprises in this community.

The paper’s publisher claims newsroom workers want assurances that nothing will change. This is clearly false. Guild leaders have told local media (including the Herald-Leader) that they’re willing to consider changes to paid time off and health care if the company demonstrates a true need.

Scathing.

We hope the H-L gets its ducks in a row soon. It’s the only major paper in the state with its finger on the pulse of society. Kentucky can’t afford to suffer when it comes to news just because an out-of-state corporation wants to reap mega-profits.

Top in 2007? What?

The Associated Press released their picks for the top ten Kentucky news stories for 2007 a couple days ago.

1. Democrat Steve Beshear defeated Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

2. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Kentucky inmates’ challenge to lethal injection.

3. Investigators determined that pilot error was the main cause of the 2006 Comair crash in Lexington.

If it were up to us, we’d pick something a little more odd like this story where a crazed reader challenges the Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth to a duel. Ha.

And in honor of the War on Christmas? Happy Holidays and such.

Herald-Leader Treats Employees Badly

The Lexington Newspaper Guild is making its voice heard over the Herald-Leader’s decision to fight for the right to slash and eliminate health care for part-time workers and cut sick leave for all employees. Mind numbing, isn’t it? The very paper that has editorialized support for universal health care and economic justice for decades is kicking its employees in favor of corporate profits.

The H-L is owned by McClatchy, an organization based in Sacramento, CA, which purchased the paper in mid 2006. McClatchy promptly paid former Knight Ridder execs more than $60 million (the paper’s profits were $23 million in 2005) but can’t find the means to provide their workers with the basics.

The Lexington Newspaper Guild has been in talks with the company over its contract which expired on January 1 of this year (which remains in effect via an evergreen clause) and there are two major obstacles the company is sticking with. What are they? Health care and sick leave. Arguably the state’s most important news organization in the history of the Commonwealth is on the verge of disaster over health care and sick leave. Shameful.

The Guild recently held a demonstration outside the Herald-Leader and has released a video of the event:




UPDATE: Editor & Publisher has a great story on the Guild’s fight for fairness. Publisher Tim Kelly seems to think the truth is damaging. So maybe it’d be a good idea to, you know, provide employees with the basics and stop beating around the bush.

Anne Northup Unloads on Hawpe

You can only imagine how much pleasure former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup must have taken as she wrote a fiery letter to the Courier-Journal this week. She said the proverbial straw that unhinged her was a mention by David Hawpe in a Sunday column professing his fairness to Republican candidates. She must have been considering this rant, though, for some time. Like, for years.

We tend to believe Anne wrote this one herself, with no help from handlers or political advisors. It’s way too emotional to have gone through a thorough political vetting.

But we wonder why she, and other politicians, don’t do more public bitching about the way they’re treated in the media. There’s nothing in Northup’s letter that couldn’t have been said during her time in office or during a campaign. Sure, it would be tough to take on Hawpe and risk alienating voters. But wouldn’t it be interesting to have a winning political candidate open an acceptance speech with a line like this — “I just want to say to David Hawpe – I’m not taking any more of your crap.”

Northup started by calling Hawpe “abusive and dishonest” but it got better – or worse – from there. Her piece wasn’t so much about the unfavorable treatment she got in the paper, but about Hawpe’s out-of-print political activity, like ripping her in speeches and (allegedly) recruiting political opponents. She didn’t like the demanding e-mails he sent, requesting items that took up staff time and yet never became the subject of anything editorial.

Northup makes a convincing case against Hawpe. It will be interesting to see if Hawpe responds. His advantage in this war of words, of course, is that he always gets the last word.

Sidenote: What the hell are “conservative” values? And what politician doesn’t understand that news outlets have demanding deadlines? Jesus.