Louisville Courier-Journal Executive Editor Neil Budde tells WFPL’s James Miller the budgetary imperatives behind last week’s layoffs allowed him to reimagine the news organization: “The approach I took was rather than what we’ve done in the past — which is identify somebody here, somebody there — was to step back and say: If I had ‘X’ budget and that’s the new budget and I was creating a news organization today from scratch, how would I do that?”
The Courier-Journal laid off seven people last Tuesday, including Managing Editor Jean Porter, metro editor Mike Trautmann, graphic artist Steve Reed and multimedia manager John Mura.
No reporters lost their jobs, “but several C-J reporters told me that the loss of people such as Trautmann, Porter and Reed would definitely affect their reporting,” Miller wrote last week. Miller asked Budde about their fears: “When you have reporters out in the field and they need to call in and say, ‘I have this problem,’ who are they going to be calling?” Budde replied:
There is a role in this organization labeled as content editor. In some ways I might think of it more as content coach. Somebody who will be working with the reporters, helping them shape their stories and their ideas along the way — probably, less hands-on editing. Although, obviously, some part of it will be editing. But I think in the past we have had editors who were fairly aggressive in reworking stories for reporters. There is a little more expectation that the reporters are more independent and produce stories that are in better shape and with some work, a lot of that is also in the coaching process.