We’ve had quite a bit of news in the past month – none of it good. While newspapers everywhere have made substantial cuts, what we’ve undergone is probably unprecedented.
Effective Jan. 4, the following sports people are being laid off at the East Valley Tribune:
• Assistant sports editor Craig Morgan
• Suns beat writer and Page 2 columnist Jerry Brown
• Cardinals beat writer Mike Tulumello
• Diamondbacks beat writer Jack Magruder
• Arizona State beat writer Dan Zeiger
• Prep writer (and former Coyotes beat writer before that position was eliminated) Matt Paulson
• Two sports-specific members of our universal copy desk: Brad Sheets and Dave Argabright
In the big picture:
• The Tribune will no longer be a daily newspaper and instead will publish four days a week.
• Paid subscriptions are being eliminated.
• Instead, the Tribune will deliver 100,000 free copies to homes and racks in the cities of Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek.
• We will no longer circulate in the cities of Scottsdale and Tempe.
It’s a completely different business model. As you can imagine, it was pretty devastating around here when the news was announced Oct. 6. As a newspaper, about 40 percent of the workforce is being let go.
In sports, 6 of our 11 writers/assistant editors will lose their jobs, in addition to members of the universal desk. Travel and freelance budgets are also being gutted.
What’s left? Myself, our columnist and three prep writers. We will essentially become a sports section that focuses on preps (as we always have) and uses AP for its coverage of pro/college sports (although our columnist will continue to touch on the hot topics surrounding those sports).
I feel the worst for the people mentioned above. Those are some pretty talented journalists who made it possible for us to hold our own against the Arizona Republic on those beats despite limited resources.
We were a top-10 APSE daily section the last two years because of their efforts.
IN OTHER MOVES:
■ Los Angeles Times: Mike Hiserman has been promoted from senior assistant sports editor to deputy sports editor, replacing Steve Clow, who returned to metro as deputy editor. Debbie Goffa has been promoted from assistant sports editor to senior assistant sports editor. Jennifer Preece has been promoted from desk assistant to web deputy. Brad Turner joined us from the Riverside Press-Enterprise to assist with Lakers coverage. Our other addition was designer Dave Campbell, who came to sports full-time from the web desk.
Those are the two additions the Times has made to the staff this year. They have lost 22. The most recent reduction in force cost the organization what sports editor Randy Harvey calls "five extremely valuable employees" – assistant sports editor Van Nightingale, golf reporter Thomas Bonk, media reporter Steve Springer, hockey reporter Dan Arritt and prep reporter Lonnie White.
Chris Foster moved from the UCLA football beat to hockey. David Wharton moved from general assignment to UCLA football and basketball. Gary Klein adds USC basketball to his USC football duties. Diane Pucin moved from UCLA basketball to media columnist.
■ Fresno Bee: Matt Lloyd has taken over as sports editor at The Fresno Bee. Lloyd grew up in Fresno County and has worked at The Bee since 1999. Other moves in the department include Kenny Lewis being promoted to assistant sports editor in charge of design and Dave Cooper being promoted to sports copy desk chief. Both have worked at The Bee for four years.
■ Palm Springs Desert Sun: The Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun has hired Drew Schmenner as a sportswriter. Schmenner, a graduate of Northwestern University and a candidate for Master of Arts in journalism at the University of Missouri, interned this summer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He also worked for the Columbia (Mo.) Missourian.
■ The Lawton (Okla.) Constitution: Hired Jacob Unruh as area sports writer, covering more than 40 schools in Southwest Oklahoma. Unruh is a 2008 graduate of Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah where he served as sports editor the school newspaper. Unruh will also be assisting with college sports coverage of both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
■ Quad-City Times: University of Iowa football beat writer Eric Page resigned to join the web development department at Augustana College. Copy editor Dave Shelles resigned to edit the quarterly magazine at the University of Wyoming.
■ Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel: Two members of the sports staff lost their jobs after layoffs in the newsroom.
Roland Julian worked at the newspaper for more than 50 years. Not included in that time was his job as a newspaper carrier at age 12 and working in the mailroom during high school. Julian started out covering high school sports and working on the desk. Later he helped cover University of Tennessee football, basketball and track. He also was the beat writer for Tennessee’s first pro hockey team, the Knoxville Knights, during the 1960s. Julian was best known for his coverage of UT swimming, attending SEC swim championships from 1968-96. He also started the All-SEC swim teams in 1970, way before the league acknowledged accomplishments. His list is still published. Julian was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and Tennessee Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984.
Most of his work the past 30 years has been spent on the desk and his headlines have dominated the Tennessee Sports Writers Association contest the past decade.
Mark Burgess spent 18 years on the staff as a writer and is best known for his work covering high school sports including a long tenure as preps editor. He left preps to become beat writer for UT football and later spent one year on the UT men’s basketball beat. He spent the past four years as general assignment reporter covering high school, UT sports and anything else thrown to him. This past year, his enterprise piece on the pressure now facing high school coaches was a top 10 finalist in the APSE contest.
■ Ken Berger has left Newsday and joined CBSSports.com as senior writer covering the NBA.
At Newsday, Berger he has covered N.Y. sports since 2000 and served as its NBA columnist the past two years.
After graduating from Indiana University in 1993, Ken began his career with The Associated Press in 1994, covering a variety of schools/teams/leagues in Alabama, Cleveland and then Philadelphia before joining Newsday.
Ken brings that 1-2 punch of dogged reporting and solid opinion/analysis writing that fits perfectly with what we need from our writers, given a smaller stable of scribes than any of our competitors. Without having written a word, Ken will start at CBSSports.com as the best NBA writer in its 14-year history.
■ Baltimore Sun: Sports writer Don Markus, who covered college and pro sports for 23 years, is transferring to the Howard County bureau as a news reporter. Howard County is one of The Sun’s most important bureaus, and is in an area that competes for readers with The Washington Post.