Via Romenesko today:
Just a few weeks before former San Jose Mercury News Editor Carole Leigh Hutton resigned in a surprise move last Thursday, she led a team of staffers in a presentation to MediaNews Group CEO William Dean Singleton to turn the daily into a three-section paper.
Some staffers, still puzzled days after Hutton’s sudden departure, are speculating that that idea, which Singleton and other company brass did not support, may have been the final blow to Hutton’s job.
One of several aspects of the paper’s ongoing “Rethinking Project,” the decreased sections idea was apparently greeted negatively by Singleton and David J. Butler, MediaNews vice president for news, during a presentation in mid-December. [Source]
I’ve written on the Rethinking Project before, in December. I thought it was an interesting if not excellent idea then, and (with no updates to the Rethinking blog to convince me otherwise) am sticking to my guns. Why not have a section for the “important” take-down-the-mayor and wars and political machinations, a section for business, and an “everything else” section? Is it too radical to consolidate sports and entertainment? (Aren’t sports, after all, a form of entertainment?)
What’s sad is that if this project, and specifically the three-section idea, was really the reason behind Hutton’s departure, then it’s probably not going to move forward, or at least not in the way it was going.
Butler, who replaced Hutton as Mercury News editor last week, cited the “Rethinking Project” and specifically Hutton’s description of plans to “blow up the paper” during comments to staffers last week. He said such an approach might be too bold for the moment…