There are a lot of rumors swirling about what’s happening in Argus Leader.
Rumors of firing, unhappy people and general malaise over the direction that South Dakota’s largest daily newspaper has taken. Take it all with a grain of salt, and consider it at rumor status, but it might be worth watching and reading.
What am I hearing?
The rumors are flying that News Director Patrick Lalley may have fired a sports writer over a turf fight. I’m also hearing that the rumor mill swirling around that portion of the 4th Estate is (allegedly) that Lalley may also be battling Stu Whitney who had jumped into political stories with vigor, but suddenly stopped writing about politics. Supposedly, at Lalley’s demand.
This could be the continuation of an alleged turf war that had been spoken about in hushed tones when it broke out earlier, swirling around a mysterious disappearing Stu Whitney story about John Thune that appeared on-line for a day, and then disappeared at the same time the SuFuStu video program went on permanent hiatus.
The Thune story is gone – I skimmed it briefly about the time it went up, but when I went to go back to it – it had been taken off-line. Not exactly a smoking gun, but when tied to the rumors on it…. the Whitney/Lalley conflict is worth monitoring, and revisiting another day.
There’s also said to be rising tension in the Argus Newsroom over Dana Ferguson and her coming off as a bit of a Weiland mouthpiece in her stories, such as the pro-Weiland ballot measure story that coincidentally was placed on-line tonight with her byline. That’s the rumor, but I’m getting this second hand, so take it as presented – a rumor.
What’s supposedly driving this conflict and unhappiness? Have you read the Argus lately?
The Sunday edition is basically what was online during the week, plus USA Today, wrapped around an even bigger pile of Sunday circulars. The only time you’d ever have seen that was on Thanksgiving. Now, it’s a weekly occurrence. And I’m not the only one noticing it. I’m hearing there are complaints from readers about complete lack of content in the papers.
If you watch the on-line shows, you’ll note the viewer counter which consistently hovered in the 20’s has been gone for a while. Why? I’m hearing part of the unhappiness is that online shows such as 100 Eyes on politics consistently get about 20 viewers. When the majority of the comments come from South DaCola, Larry Kurtz rambling about pot, and a few other consistent characters, most choose to turn it off and work at their desks.
While employment issues are typically kept quiet until someone’s byline stops appearing, some of the rest of it such as viewership, the amazing shrinking newspaper and other facets of this continue to be held underneath the “Argus Cone of Silence,” with little more than rumors escaping out to the real world for us to evaluate, as we try to divine simple truth from wild rumor.
So, that’s what I’m hearing through the grapevine that winds it’s way through and out of the local Gannett newspaper tonight. A collection of rumors that you can judge for yourself.
Might be best to judge as you flip through the Sunday circulars. There’s a lot of original content there. Plus coupons.