No, this is not about GOP tax reduction. It’s another round of layoffs at the once-mighty Arizona Republic.
It was reported recently that many of their newsroom and editorial staffers were going to have to interview for their own jobs. Which of course sparked rumors of more cuts.
Phoenix Biz Journal’s Hayley Ringle reports this morning that at least six positions have been cut, and she got quotes from journalist-victim Phil Haldiman. I never got a chance to meet Phil but I appreciated his reporting, particularly on issues in our neighboring town of Paradise Valley…before another brilliant AZR managerial move that shuffled him to West Valley focus.
Phil’s words capture the essence of the slow death of real journalism in Arizona:
“I cannot impart the importance of vigilant watchdog reporting, and the presence of a reporter at almost every city/town council meeting in this vast Valley. That is what the Republic provides, no other news organization here provides that, and I believe it is an important service to the great residents of this state.
“With this lay-off, that presence will diminish as it has continued to do so over the years. Ultimately the fallout is that government checks and balances will reside more and more in the hands of the public. And what that means, only the future will tell.”
And a Facebook post by Scottsdale-based reporter Edward Gately this morning seems to indicate he got the ax, too.
By getting rid of folks who supply the raw product that is the essence of newspapers–news–and then shuffling remaining reporters around to the point where they no longer grasp the context within which their stories have developed, the Republic becomes more-and-more just a legacy masthead for a subscription version of Junk-mail Tuesday.