Tag Archives: Newsroom of the Future

Your Daily Free Press, a shell of its former self

A bit of unintended irony in Friday’s Burlington Free Press. Page A13 featured a nice article about the awards given to the Freeploid by the Vermont Press Association.

Which, okay, whatever. The Free Press ought to take home a bunch of awards from the VPA. It is, by far, the biggest newspaper in the state. For the Freeploid, winning VPA awards is kind of like a 14-year-old faking his age and playing in Little League. Substantial built-in advantage.

But then, on page C3, there was a prime example of the Free Press’ diminished status. The page contained a column of Business Briefs, a series of items ripped straight from press releases and deployed to occupy space on a day when ad sales fall a bit short.

The first of the three started like this:

Walmart gives pay raises to 753 in Vermont

Walmart gave the largest single-day, privatesector [sic] pay increase ever on March 10 to more than 1.2 million Walmart and Sam’s Club employees in the United States, including 753 in Vermont. All employees hired before Jan. 1, 2016, will earn at least $9.60 an hour.

Well, isn’t that nice. How generous of an enterprise not known for its generosity.

But wait. Didn’t Vermont’s minimum wage just go up?

Why yes, in fact, it did. On January 1, the state minimum wage increased to… wait for it… $9.60 an hour.

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And the first one bites the dust

The seasonal slasher flick that is the Burlington Free Press has claimed its first victim. Reporter Lynn Monty has been kicked out the door for refusing to go through the “degrading and demoralizing” experience of “interviewing for a job I already had.”

Last week, Freeploid staffers had to re-interview for newly-defined jobs as part of Gannett’s Newsroom of the Future initiative. Seven Days’ Paul Heintz reports that Monty had an interview scheduled, but at the last minute she couldn’t bring herself to go through with it.

“I opted out of the interview process and they laid me off. …I loved my job, but I don’t love Gannett. I will make a new way for myself that doesn’t compromise my integrity.”

… According to Monty, Gannett plans to pay her the difference between unemployment insurance compensation and her full salary for six weeks — one for each year she spent at the paper.

Ooooh, six whole weeks! That’ll take her right into… mid-December.

Merry Christmas!

One other note that strikes me as extremely convenient:

An internal document obtained two weeks ago by Seven Days indicated that final decisions from Gannett were due this week, though Monty said she expected them next week.

Yeah, we’ll expect you all to work your asses off through Election Night, but no guarantees after that.

Happy Thanksgiving!