May 07, 2007

Exit Lileks

As part of a massive layoff/buyout program that will subtract 145 people from its staff, including 50 from the newsroom, the Star Tribune announced today that blogosphere hero James Lileks will lose his weekly column (Lileks has been re-assigned to a general reporter position.)

I'm a bit more upset about the massive layoffs than the Lileks part, if only because James has a rather lucrative career as an author to fall back on, and I'm guessing the 50 on their way out probably don't. Also, enjoyable as Lileks' blog is, I've never considered his Strib column to be anywhere near as witty or entertaining.

The two biggest villains in this whole thing? First is Sid Hartman, who probably could've saved ten people's jobs if he retired himself. And second is new Strib publisher Par Ridder, scion of the always-evil Ridder publishing empire, who stands accused of stealing industrial secrets from the Pioneer Press and bringing them with him to the Strib. Been wondering where he got the name "Par"? With the given name Paul Anthony Ridder, he's in the rich-jerk tradition of using his first name as his initials, kind of like Jeb Bush, and Gob Bluth.

Best case scenario? The 145 firings will lead to an extremely modest circulation jump six months from now, and the Strib can celebrate with an 8-page special section about how no one expected it.

Posted by Stephen Silver at May 7, 2007 08:29 PM
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