posted on February 19, 2009 13:40
Gene Conti’s pick of N&O veteran Ted Vaden as deputy DOT secretary for communications revealed three things:
- Conti (caveat: a good friend) will be a good secretary. He understands that DOT will benefit from some disinfectant and sunshine.
- The N&O, like many daily papers, looks like a sinking ship.
- The age-old media suspicion of “flacks” is alive and well.
The Independent Weekly posted a snarky bit:
“We wish Vaden well. After all the anxiety over layoffs at the paper, the new opportunity (and $117,000 annual salary) must be irresistible.”
The writer, Fiona Morgan, then said:
“The work public information officers do can be quite valuable. But what does it say about the state of journalism that the guy whose job is to ‘[monitor] N&O coverage for fairness and accuracy and [serve] as a readers’ representative at the paper’ will now be in charge of spinning for one of the most egregiously mismanaged and obfuscating agencies of state government?”
Well, it says to me that’s just the guy DOT needs.
Apparently, Morgan sees something untoward that I don’t. Maybe it’s because over 30 years ago I made the same move Vaden is: from the N&O to government. Maybe I’m oversensitive to the presumption that there is something unsavory about public-information jobs in state government.
There is some basis for that suspicion. I’ve known plenty of obfuscating flacks. Sometimes ex-journalists become the worst and most ill-tempered obfuscators.
But I don’t believe that will be the case with Vaden. And that’s not Conti’s style. He’s a straight shooter.
The underlying story here is what’s happening at the N&O. Rumors are rife: Another round of staff cuts is coming. A salary freeze. An end to retirement contributions. An unpaid week’s furlough. The daily paper soon reduced to two sections.
One reader said he’s afraid that soon the delivery person will throw his paper out and a breeze will catch it and carry it away.
The cry goes up: Will someone save the N&O from the disastrous reign of the McClatchy chain?
Click Here to discuss and comment on this and other articles.