Star Ledger Brain Drain Will Take a Toll on Newark

After the Star Ledger announced successful negotiations with its unions, the paper found a way to cover its expenses — at least for now.
Newarkers, though, still have plenty to be concerned about their local paper as the 151-person buyout has offered a year’s salary and healthcare and many of those that took the package are some of the best and insightful reporters on the City Hall beat.

After the Star Ledger announced successful negotiations with its unions, the paper found a way to cover its expenses — at least for now.
Newarkers, though, still have plenty to be concerned about their local paper as the 151-person buyout has offered a year’s salary and healthcare and many of those that took the package are some of the best and insightful reporters on the City Hall beat.

Notable journalists such as Jeff Mays, Katie Wang and the notorious Joan Whitlow will be leaving the Star Ledger at a date still yet to be revealed to the staff — and these are just a handful of people leaving in the long line of brain drain from the news room.  

(Remember Rob Gebeloff, who used to write the NJ Stat Attack blog and managed the NJ.com By the Numbers feature?  Nobody’s touched it since February when he left for another local paper whose name ends with “Times”.)

The Ledger is looking to move much of its content online and has started a few promising ventures like Newark Live and Ledger Live.  But we get word from a staffer that the relationship between the paper and “some guys in Secaucus” who manage nj.com is “like a bad marriage, and we want a divorce.”  I bet that makes for some fun meetings.

While these are troubling times for old media, it’s certainly an opportunity for new, niche media to sweep in and grab up some marketshare.  The consolidation of old properties is reducing the number of media contacts for local organizations to reach out to, and as a result I’ve found people very willing to talk to “bloggers” as an alternate means of getting a message out.

We may see insightful coverage from the Ledger shrink, but now is exactly the time when Newarkers can explore how to make use of blogging and other social media to make a new, more engaged public square.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Newarker, PCA Elder, Business Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

6 thoughts on “Star Ledger Brain Drain Will Take a Toll on Newark”

  1. I believe in the presence and impact of the blogosphere, but let’s not undermine the power of touch. Smaller-sized printed papers that provide balanced, diverse coverage of local and/or urban areas, are not simply filled with loads of advertisement, and are not produced by local politicians…such papers can develop a cult following among daily commuters, coffee-drinking cafe readers, local artists, and your average folk who don’t fancy walking around with a laptop all the time but are looking for, as you say, insight. Perhaps new writers can figure out a way to publish certain aspects of their blogs, say arts culture and media, in print form. There is certainly a high need for more avenues of communication in Newark.

    Like

  2. I believe in the presence and impact of the blogosphere, but let’s not undermine the power of touch. Smaller-sized printed papers that provide balanced, diverse coverage of local and/or urban areas, are not simply filled with loads of advertisement, and are not produced by local politicians…such papers can develop a cult following among daily commuters, coffee-drinking cafe readers, local artists, and your average folk who don’t fancy walking around with a laptop all the time but are looking for, as you say, insight. Perhaps new writers can figure out a way to publish certain aspects of their blogs, say arts culture and media, in print form. There is certainly a high need for more avenues of communication in Newark.

    Like

  3. I’ve often wondered what in the world happened to Ms. Whitlow.I’ve followed her and have long been impressed by her body of work since coverage of the United Hospital community hearings chaired by the eminent Jean Heningburg(I pray that I haven’t mispelled her name). I’ve greatly missed her and was,understandably, perplexed as to her disappearance. Why was that? Her coverage of Newark City Hall was in short exemplary, why?Now I’ve just read that she will be among those leaving, again I must scream, not cry out, why? Where in fact will she go? I just can’t believe the puzzling happenings surrounding her.
    Please do all that can bbe done to retain, not lose such a wonderfully relevant treasure.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s