It's always fun to see a journalist fall on his sword. It has that righteous feel of a principled but stubborn man putting on his dinner jacket to sit calmly on the deck of the sinking Titanic. Except in the case of the newspaper industry, that man would eventually float to the surface and go into PR. Anyhow, the editor of a Southern California business paper called The Business Press got himself stone cold fired for blasting out an adorably serious email about how design changes are eroding the paper's credibility. He was promptly ejected from the building! Fey big city media elites who mock traditional newspaper values can learn something from the memos below. (How to get fired):
From: "Dixon, Bob" To: [Numerous pe.com employees] Subject: Sept. 15 issue of The Business Presss Date: Sep 10, 2008 3:05 PM All: I am deeply saddened by the wholesale destruction of what was once the editorial credibility of The Business Press with the publication in the September 15 issue of a thinly-veiled advertising product labeled "Business Profiles." Please understand that I have no problem with the concept or the effort to generate revenue; it is the manner in which it was done, and the complete disregard for any semblance of editorial integrity, to which I object. It is perhaps telling that the publishers chose to ignore all of the methods traditionally employed to separate advertising from editorial content. I offered my views on maintaining this distinction when the concept was first proposed several months ago. 1. The section uses a title, "profiles," that has been used for years to denote a regular feature in the editorial pages, including on the cover each week; 2. The only printed indication anywhere that the section contains advertising and not editorial content is in the text-sized page folio; 3. The light blue overhead banner created specifically to denote editorial content during the paper's last redesign is employed at the top of pages in the ad section containing advertising content; and 4. The same typeface used for editorial content has also been used for advertorial content, unlike the sans-serif face that has been one of the principal distinguishing factors employed in the paper's prior advertising or "banner" pages. For those reasons, I have chosen to remove my name from the masthead of the Sept. 15 issue of The Business Press. This is just the latest — although one of the more egregious — examples of the current administration's complete lack of regard for its editorial products. It is also one of the reasons that I have chosen to accept a buyout. Robert F. Dixon ............................... From: Robert Dixon To: [Several e-mail addresses] Subject: Bob's gone... Date: Sep 10, 2008 6:08 PM I know tongues are wagging, so here's the scoop: [Business Press publisher] Frank [Escobedo] had me ejected from the building because of my earlier email. Starting my voluntary severance early.