Voluntary reductions. They are not breasts. They are Democracy.

Tribune embarks on latest staff cuts

By: Ann Saphir Aug. 08, 2008

(Crain’s) — The Chicago Tribune’s managing editor for news, its Washington bureau chief and its public editor are leaving Friday as the paper begins a new round of newsroom cuts.

Hanke Gratteau, who was promoted to managing editor in May; Michael Tackett, who has covered every presidential election since 1988, and Timothy McNulty, who has been public editor since 2006, head a list of staffers who are leaving voluntarily.

“We still must make some additional involuntary reductions,” Editor Gerould Kern told staffers in a memo Friday afternoon. “We now are in the process of evaluating the scope of these reductions. Nothing about this is easy, but it is necessary.”

In an interview published Friday on a Tribune blog, Randy Michaels, Tribune’s chief operating officer, is unsentimental about the changes.

“We are not running a museum. We are running a business in a time of increased competition and economic hardship,” he says. “We should grieve for those who have been downsized. We should NOT be mourning the loss of anything else.”

Read the whole article, if you can stomach it: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=30532

     Okay. These “voluntary reductions” are some of the greatest, most heroic journalists in the country.  Not only should we be grieving their loss, but should indeed be mourning the loss, Mr. Randy Michaels, of the kind of reporters who do the kind of reporting that stops innocent people from being executed. Those voluntary reductions did that.

     They were also my colleagues, and many remain my friends, and the loss of their combined brain power and institutional memory and source base and understanding and mastery of the complex societal systems they explored is a grave loss to Democracy. We’re ALL being involuntarily reduced.