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Thread: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

  1. #1

    Default Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage
    10 July 2009 Comments (0)Newspapers across the country have been forced to downsize staffs and find new avenues to relevance in order to remain afloat financially. Unfortunately, staff downsizing has led to the dismissal of one of the state?s top wrestling writers, Dan McCool, who was one of 36 employees laid off in the latest round of cuts by Gannett Co. at the Des Moines Register.

    McCool was the cornerstone of wrestling coverage for probably about three decades. Every coach, wrestler, manager, parent or sibling associated with the sport knew McCool. He captured the respect of those in the wrestling community. McCool had a knack of finding good stories and blending it with a tremendous knowledge of the action on the mat.

    I remember as a youngster, while my older brother, Larry, wrestled for Cedar Rapids Regis, knowing of Dan McCool. When I wrestled in high school and college, I certainly kept up with coverage in the Register and McCool?s byline. It isn?t surprising that when I became a sportswriter with the focus on covering wrestling that I wanted to be like McCool. I wanted to command the respect that he did and have wrestlers from decades past still have an affection for me as they moved on to coaching and different endeavors. I would think, hope actually, that McCool was one of the standards wrestling writers strived to emulate when they started. I did.

    Personally, we weren?t pals who went out for pizza and beer. We were acquaintances. We talked occasionally. Exchanged a couple emails. After all, we were covering the same sport for rival (I use that loosely really) newspapers. I still remember him including my family and I in his coverage of the 2007 state meet when I had to leave during a session when our second daughter was born. I also recall an email from him saying congratulations and ?what a weak-ass excuse to get out of being snowbound in Des Moines.?

    McCool didn?t waste words, which is similar to his writing. He could be gruff and short. His exterior said it all from the shaggy hair tucked under a ball cap and thick mustache to his signature shirt and jeans. The only thing bigger than his physical stature was his stature in the wrestling community from West Lyon to Keokuk and Glenwood to Decorah, hitting all points in between.

    McCool had a passion for wrestling and it was evident in every story he wrote about it. As many grew frustrated by the Register?s wrestling coverage it wasn?t McCool?s choice. He probably was just as frustrated as anyone, especially since he covered both high school and all levels of college wrestling. Few could match his knowledge of the sport and translate it to entertaining articles for the casual sports fan.

    Wrestling coverage suffered a blow with McCool?s departure. I?m sure he?ll be involved still, but it won?t be the same when it comes to spotlighting the state?s No. 1 sport.

    See a couple of related links below:
    RIP Jacob Schlottke; KR1963 and rpayton

  2. #2

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    Two stories from the Iowa Independent...

    Register layoffs total 36
    By Jason Hancock 7/9/09 5:39 PM
    The Des Moines Register announced Thursday afternoon that it was laying off 36 employees, or 6 percent of the company’s workforce.

    Sources inside the Register tell the Iowa Independent the newsroom layoffs include director of photography Don Tormey, news editor Suzanne Behnke, designer Scott Lester, features writer Dawn Sagario, writer Mary Challender and writer Kathy Hickman. Several other newsroom employees were let go but their names could not be confirmed. There were also layoffs in advertising, production, circulation, marketing, information technology and finance.

    The cuts, which were the first of 2009 after 100 newspaper jobs in Iowa were cut in 2008, came at the direction of The Register’s parent company, Gannet Co. Inc. Nationwide, Gannett plans to eliminate 1,400 jobs.

    Below is the memo Register Publisher Laura Hollingsworth sent to employees this afternoon:


    This has been a difficult week for all of us at The Des Moines Register.

    As you know last week Gannett announced layoffs due to the continuing economic downturn. Locally, a total of 36 Des Moines Register employees and six employees at our Central Iowa and Marengo weekly operations are impacted. Departments affected include advertising, production, circulation, marketing, information technology, finance and the news staff.

    I understand the financial and emotional impact of this action and I know that all of our thoughts are with these employees and their families.

    I know I can count on you to continue to support each other. Please see your department manager if you have specific questions or concerns. Again, I invite anyone who wishes to talk with me directly to contact me at any time.

    I remain optimistic. This economy will turn and we’ll be ready to move with it when it does.

    With appreciation, LH

    Laura L. Hollingsworth
    President and Publisher
    The Des Moines Register
    West Group President
    Gannett U.S. Community Publishing

    Register closes Iowa City bureau; list of affected employees grows
    By Jason Hancock 7/10/09 2:53 PM
    The extent of the job cuts announced Thursday inside the newsroom of The Des Moines Register are becoming more clear, with more names emerging along with news that the paper has shuttered its Iowa City bureau.

    Reporter Lisa Colonno, sports copy editor Brian Granger and sports reporter Dan McCool were laid off Thursday, joining director of photography Don Tormey, news editor Suzanne Behnke, designer Scott Lester, features writer Dawn Sagario, writer Mary Challender and writer Kathy Hickman.

    Two sources have also confirmed that the paper’s Iowa City bureau has been closed and reporter Erin Jordan and photographer Harry Baumert have also been let go. The Register’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., also owns the Iowa-City Press Citizen.

    Several editors also received demotions, although the Iowa Independent has been unable to verify all the employees’ names.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Dart Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New Brighton, MN

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    Damn shame ... Dan's dry wit in person is one thing that always made me laugh. Hope he finds a way to continue writing and covering wrestling.

    Newspapers continue to feel the pain, and guys like Dan don't come along very often. We're losing a lot of the "old school" style of writers who built their legacy upon their sound rapport with wrestles, coaches and administrators while never wavering in calling things like they see it.

    Too many times, we find in an era of instant gratification, we don't "read" anything beyond the results. Dan always wrote beyond the score.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    Here's a link to his blog at the DSM Reg, "the paper that Iowa depends on" (but a bit less so, at least for wrestling fans, after today...)


  5. #5
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    New Jersey

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    What's up with the newspaper industry? Are they losing that much business to the virtuals, MSNBC and CNN? The little locals are the cornerstone of local news. My local the Star Ledger, has cut the size of the paper in half since last year and more than tripled the price.

    On Monday's and Tuesday's Id say 10% of the paper are legal notices...

    I need my rag. I don't have time to finds articles to click and read. I like the convenience of scanning two full pages for the interesting poop. Besides, you can't take a laptop into the crapper.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    I beg to differ, I take my laptop to the crapper all the time.
    I will smash your face into a car windshield and then take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out to a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!

    Tell me about it, this morning, I woke up and I shit a squirrel, but what I can't get is the damn thing is still alive. So now, I've got a shit covered squirrel running around my office and I don't know what to name it.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Dart Shark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New Brighton, MN

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    Quote Originally Posted by Champ Kind View Post
    I beg to differ, I take my laptop to the crapper all the time.
    But you're not doing much reading there, Champ.

    A lot of the newspaper's resources are getting outdated because it's all been updated by the time you get it in the morning.

    Writers are having to write and re-writing the same story and often doing twice the work for the same pay.

    If they're writing a story and it's going on the newspaper's website, why the printing costs for putting out the circulation? Speaking from eight years in the newspaper biz, the "circulation" of a paper has a big impact on income, advertising and reach.

    It used to be writing stories and things "to sell papers" in some respects. Getting more scores (box scores) into the paper promoted more buys at the box or the news stand. Now, you can just get it all online.

    I'm a bit in the middle, because I still feel the importance of the newspaper realm, because of its old school style of digging and reporting.

    The movie "State of Play" shows the relationship between the online age and the old school writer ... not to mention, conflicts of interest when it comes to covering something that you are close to, something many wrestling writers have to balance.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    I think the accelerating, shortening news cycle has a lot to do with the slippage of newspapers...

    Used to be, you eagerly waited for the newspaper to come in the morning, or in the evening. You'd wait for Walter Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley to tell you what happened during the day. You could set your watch by it. For huge, breaking news -- such as JFK's assassination -- you had Extra editions of the paper, and news bulletins on the TV.

    Now we have wall-to-wall cable news coverage that makes even the most trivial stories seem vitally important, and, as Jason clearly said, newspaper websites that update stories with the tiniest new details on an ongoing basis. There isn't time to use good news judgment, let alone any sort of writing craft. It's the equivalent of the 24-hour greasy spoon -- it's fast and it's filling, but not necessarily very nutritious and ultimately not very satisfying.

    Old enough to remember when IBM Selectrics were "state of the art" in journalism school,

  9. #9

    Default Re: Gannett deals blow to wrestling coverage

    THAT SUCKS! Stupid basterds.

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