What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thanks for the guidance Ann...

Before Ann Austin became The Danville Register & Bee's "human resource" person she was an administrative person. During my annual review she said, "I'm going to give you some advice. I don't care if you tell or if I get in trouble...." Sorry Ann, I don't have that tape recording handy and I want to quote you exactly...

But it occurred to me that her remark about no one around the newspaper getting any praise and everyone wanting it, smacked of a true lack of understanding and knowledge of what being a manager is all about.

Let me suggest some books - recent books - not drill school because-I-said-so power trip managerial books.

First Break All the Rules,
by Marcus Buckingham. It's a MUST HAVE book on what the world's greatest managers do that makes them the world's greatest managers. The Danville Register & Bee managers have nowhere to go but up - since being married and "dating" your subordinates or "being really good friends" is the number clue you have a problem with boundaries, commitment and honesty - all pretty critical elements of being a GOOD manager - let alone a great one. It came highly recommended and was part of the American Press Institute's classes I took on managing a newspaper several years ago.

And while I was chastised and told to quit spending so much time on the Poynter.org website (a teaching site for journalists) the fact is guys - there's some REAL good stuff there on how to be a good journalist. A REAL journalist. Plus, Poynter's really good about letting you post intelligent feedback there about the issues that REAL journalists have.

But back to Ann. When you're in the position of Human Resource person you really need some real training - real HR training, not just clerk stuff. Because a lot of the things you've done or haven't done or could do could put the company in a very precarious position and at risk for lawsuits. That's a lot of responsibility for a glorified clerk. Having an "office" (cubicle)where confidential information is easily overheard - unsecured fax machines, losing sensitive documents from doctors, talking on the telephone in an open cubicle environment. Tsk Tsk...your conversations have gotten back to me....not a good thing.

Since Media General's Mickey Mouse operations have put them in a penny pinching mode - probably that lawsuit over the Sting, there's not much money for training I know. Speaking of The Sting lawsuit... Call me. I'll testify. The person who headed that fiasco up does it a lot. I no longer work there - so yeah...I'll talk.

But back to managerial books. Read one. I know you all hate to read and prefer to gossip, but try it. Being proficient and actually informed can be fun!!

Now Discover Your Strengths - also by Marcus; and One Thing You Need to Know are also excellent books. Good Management skills won't happen overnight. You'll have to work at putting the things in the book into practice - which is hard in a dysfunctional office like the R&B...but you have to start somewhere.

First rule of thumb - treat employees with respect. They are your most valuable and most difficult resource to recruit, train and retain.
Hiring someone and paying them $28,000 a year and then shuffling them off to write stories about fund raisers and parades isn't a wise use of employee talent. Convergence means taking your most talented people and letting them do their thing - like video, writing and still photos and enterprise packages about something besides car wrecks and fires.

You guys are like monkeys. "Fire!!! Shooting!! Car wreck!!" and everybody's out the door. C'Mon!!! You've called reporters out of political and council meetings to go get a photo of a car wreck! Where's the attention to the bigger things in the community - like the economy, jobs, businesses and education? Doesn't matter does it. It all takes a back seat to plastering a crunched car on the front page. Why? Because THAT SELLS NEWSPAPERS. If it bleeds - it leads.

That's true at the Danville Register & Bee.
Don't believe me? Look at what the top stories of the day are. Car wrecks, shootings, stabbings, robberies - violence. And hello African American community leaders. Has it occurred to anyone that when you constantly put ONE image of Black Danville on the front page and it's mug shots and stories about gangs, muggings and shootings and drugs that maybe, just maybe there's a reason why white people think that's all Blacks do in Danville? You should be down there demanding to know why there aren't more success stories and features about Black Danvillians who have made a difference in the paper.

And if you don't get those stories - quit advertising and start your own paper. It's not that hard!! I'll even show you how and help you find someone to set up a webpage.

Sure - it's fun to sit back and read this blog and laugh at the poor old Register and Bee - but YOU all let it get into the shape it's in by not standing up more often. Pull your advertising. Write letters to the editors. Comment on the website, start a blog. Blogs are FREE. Use the library computers or DCC's computer if you don't have your own. But speak up. The longer you let this loser paper control your voices the less voice you'll have.

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