Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Sentinel to hire from within? Also, Charlotte who?

Posted on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 3:07 PM

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So, the big media news today was that Orlando Sentinel editor Charlotte Hall -- who took over for the admirable Tim Franklin in 2004 -- would be exiting her perch atop the region's gladrag on Oct. 1. We know this because we searched "Charlotte Hall" on the Sentinel website and it provided us with our favorite moment of the day: a response reading "did you mean Charlotte Rae?" OF COURSE WE DID!!!! (See above for evidence!) Anyway, Hall is but the latest to jump ship under the terrifying bankruptcy of Sam Zell's "fuck you" leadership, and though her six-year reign has been in complete synchronicity with the declining nature of the newspaper industry (also, "The Story of You?" Puhleeze.) and the paper's (and its website's) horrific redesign – all of which we documented to extreme length here – we do wish her the best. She even wrote a very nice farewell to the staff before her inevitable ascent into retirement traveling and spending more time with her family. Good for her.

We weren't necessarily surprised by the news, however. Yesterday we got a hot tip from a certain former staffer called "Billman" that there was an ambiguous opening in the gaping Central Florida journalistic vortex. JournalismJobs.com listed a Managing Editor position open for a "highly regarded privately owned newspaper company" that was looking for "candidates for a Managing Editor position at a mid-to-large size daily newspaper" at an unspecified "Central Florida location." Hmm, we thought to ourselves. That's fishy. Maybe we should look into it?

We didn't and the news broke late last night and blah and blah and blah. Except, wait! That advertised position isn't for "Editor" at all! And doesn't the Sentinel already have a managing editor? So two plus two made four and we tried in vain to divine who the mysterious managing editor is via the paper's non-existent online masthead. That did not work. So we shot our boyfriend Scott Maxwell, the paper's Taker of Names, an e-mail asking "so, are you the new editor?" -- you know, to flirt -- "and just who is the managing editor?"

"Fat chance," was his reply. So he basically called us fat. Then he revealed that Mark Russell is the current managing editor. Russell recieved a BJ in 1984 (bachelor's degree in journalism, probably) from the University of Missouri to whom he gave this staggering interview once. Our favorite quote? "I wish I done a stint as a copyeditor for at least one year. I had to learn all of the copyediting tricks on the job when I became an assistant city editor. I would have understood the technical side of editing better if I had been a copyeditor for at least a short time." Amazing.

Which brings us to the conclusion of this episode of The Facts of Life (seriously, this meta-journalism stuff about journalism would be so much better with a little Blair in it). Publisher Howard Greenberg is said to have "no timetable" for announcing the new editor, so we're just going to assume (for now) that it will be Russell. Congrats, Mark!

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