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May 04, 2012

Putting The Best Face On The Daily Newspaper

Putting The Best Face On The Daily Newspaper


In many respects, I had a rather depressing 90-minute chat over coffee yesterday with the Executive Editor of the Battle Creek Enquirer (BCE) daily newspaper, now a part of the Gannett chain, after decades of distinguished reporting and civic leadership as a family-owned newspaper. 

The Battle Creek Enquirer’s newsroom staff has shrunk more than Rick Moranis and his kids in the 1989 movie -- from 33 editorial staffers about 15 years ago, to 13 today. (I heard from another  source later yesterday that there are now only 4 fulltime reporters in that number.) 

I commented casually to the BCE Editor about several errors of fact and grammar I'd seen in yesterday's paper and asked: "Who is copy editor today?" 

He got this startled look like I’d asked him how often he had sex with his wife. 

Turns out, there is no offical "copy editor" at the Enquirer anymore, he said, it's a chore passed around among the small staff.

When I started as a newspaper reporter 46 years ago, you kept the newsroom staff separate from the business side, trying to ensure news objectivity.

Gannett now has the BCE Editor handling both -- and one gets the impression he has more fingers in the profit/loss dike than Hans Brinker. 

I guess we should just be thankful to have a daily newspaper in Battle Creek.


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