Add one more to the genre. Whenever a news outlet reduces staff, some bigwig finds a way to call it an improvement.
Last week, GOOD magazine, in a surprise move, axed most of its editorial staff, as chronicled by Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon. On Monday, Casey Caplowe, GOOD’s co-founder and creative director, tried his hand at explaining what went down. Here’s part of his blog post on the matter:
At the same time, we’ve had to make some big and difficult decisions, perhaps the biggest and most difficult of which involved letting several members of our editorial team go last Friday. These were great people who contributed a lot to GOOD. We wish them the best and expect that they will do great things.
GOOD has always been a work in progress, and even as creating and spreading awesome content by amazing people will continue to be a critical part of what we do, this was a step we felt was important to take as we pursue a refined strategy to inform, connect, and empower the community of people who give a damn.
Caplowe is a creative creative director. That’s not bad stuff. Sure is an improvement on the words of the publisher of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who wrote this upon a workforce reduction:
Many current employees of The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com will have the opportunity to grow with the new organizations, but the need to reallocate resources to accelerate the digital growth of NOLA Media Group will necessitate a reduction in the size of the workforce.
And Caplowe’s formulation bests that of WaPo’s Marcus Brauchli, who wrote this upon announcing some buyouts:
Our objective is a limited staff reduction that won’t affect the quality, ambition or authority of our journalism. We believe this is possible, given the changes in how we work and the great successes we have had building our digital readership lately.
Yet just because Caplowe apparently knows enough to eschew the tired buzzwords of the more-with-less doctrine doesn’t mean his statement isn’t vapid and insulting. It is. Just how is it “important” to dismiss fine journalists as you amp up a strategy to “inform, connect, and empower” the community? Are we to believe that the downsized staffers were just getting in the way?