GateHouse just laid off perhaps its most nationally renowned journalist, talented Springfield State Journal-Register editorial cartoonist Chris Britt.
As was the case when I was canned in 2009, Chris became a luxury the company decided not to afford.
I didn't know Chris well, but I long respected his work, which was syndicated and appeared in newspapers throughout the country. He is the latest in a series of quality journalists let go in GateHouse's hopeless attempt to make ends meet in a financially strapped industry. The gutting of newsrooms began shortly after GateHouse bought several Copley newspapers in the summer of 2007.
What really ticks me off isn't that David Copley sold us out by accepting an offer from a horribly run company that lacked the money to thrive after the deal. It isn't that GateHouse borrowed heavily to make its footprint larger, all but guaranteeing failure. It isn't even that, from Day 1, GateHouse let it be known that the bottom line would trump quality journalism.
No, what really ticks me off is that while GateHouse ruined hundreds of employees' lives -- supposedly in the name of fiscal austerity -- it has awarded millions upon millions of dollars in cash bonuses the last few years to the very executives who have run the operation into the ground.
In 2011, CEO Michael Reed was rewarded handsomely for firing employees and ruining the product: $750,000!
Four other executives received bonuses ranging from $80k to $275k.
It is more than morally bankrupt. It is criminal ... or at least it should be.