News Tribune dumps Karwath, McLoughlin

Two more high-ranking executives in local media are out of work. Duluth News Tribune Executive Editor Rob Karwath and Circulation Manager Tim McLoughlin were laid off today. This follows the firing on Monday of Julie Moravchik, who was news director at Fox 21 News.

Duluth News Tribune Publisher Ken Browell released this statement:

Effective today the company has restructured management within the Editorial and Circulation Departments, resulting in the elimination of two management positions at the News Tribune. Executive Editor Rob Karwath and Circulation Manager Tim McLoughlin have been laid off. Both of these individuals have made significant contributions to the News Tribune during their careers. These were difficult business decisions. I will miss Rob and Tim both personally and professionally.

35 Comments

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

You hate to see anyone out of work. I hate to, anyway.  I never liked Karwath's columns, and the TV show is so ridiculous I've never watched a whole episode.

But the paper was coming along a lot better the last several months after last year's blood bath.  I think I need to give Karwath credit for that, for the gradual improvements, I mean. Unsure if he was responsible for all of the lay offs or not.   

Robin Washington is growing on me lately, too. I sent him an email about something the other day and he got right back to me satisfactorily within a couple of hours.  So I'm gonna hold off on any criticism for the moment.

I feel for those guys losing their jobs, plus that's now 2 more experienced journalists fighting for fewer and fewer jobs ... Sad all around if you ask me

vicarious

about 11 years ago

Given the partnership between the DNT and Fox 21 News, I wonder if the three firings are somehow related.

db

about 11 years ago

Has tonight's Final Edition already been recorded, so that there's no way to get these two on the same episode?

David

Calk

about 11 years ago

Oh my Jesus F****** God! Wow. I'm sorry these two lost their jobs, but am not surprised, given the direction the paper has been going under Karwath's watch. I hope they get someone in that position who can bring the paper more in line with our community's standards, i.e. don't endorse Republicans esp. when they suck, and don't publish irrelevant, sensationalistic stories. That'd be cool if Moravchik replaced Karwath. . .

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Generally, "Final Edition" is recorded on Friday mornings, so I think it's safe to say there will be no discussion of the DNT situation, just the Fox 21 News one.

And Calk, I guess it needs to be emphasized that Karwath's position was eliminated. No one will be replacing him. Also, Karwath didn't necessarily endorse Republicans; he complied with the powers-that-be in Fargo who insisted the DNT endorse Pawlenty and McCain.

Whether a newspaper should make endorsements based on "community standards" rather than facts and reason is a whole other issue. The fact that Forum Communications pushes Republicans over Democrats isn't really the problem. Not allowing individual papers to have a voice specific to their communities is the problem.

TimK

about 11 years ago

Ken Browall, DNT Publisher, is the one making political endorsements- I'd guess it's a 50/50 split between his own political beliefs (very right wing) and that of corporate in Fargo. Karwath may or may not have agreed with any of the endorsements the paper made, but my suspicion is that there will be even LESS consideration of OUR community's values from now until the paper folds.

Mac

about 11 years ago

Robin Washington is now the editor?  Great.  Would the last person at the DNT remember to turn off the ligh--oh screw it.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Thanks for the clarifications, Paul. Interesting, the DNT website doesn't allow comments on that story.

adam

about 11 years ago

If you look at other Forum properties (especially their web sites), their relationship with Fox and their political endorsements are not terribly startling.

mike simonson

about 11 years ago

"Final Edition" recorded at 12:45, we now do it a little later than before, so we did talk about Karwath.  I also spoke briefly with him before our noon news.  He wasn't ready to talk except to say that this is a game of numbers, and he had a big number right on his back.  

I do understand when anyone in any profession is laid off or canned it is of no less importance than news media people.  I've been fired twice over 30 years. My support for all of you who are without work.    
 
My point is local news staying free from advertising pressures and doing its job as government and corporate watchdog does seem to be in more jeopardy than at any time. 
  
Sad day, again. Too many of these over the past couple of years.

Brandon Stahl

about 11 years ago

To clarify something on the original post -- it was not a firing. Rob and Tim were laid off.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

Thanks Brandon, I've corrected that now. 

Karwath and McLoughlin were laid off, a term which denotes that the termination of their employment was unrelated to their performance or ethics.

Moravchik was fired, as far as I know, which suggests her employer had a beef with something she did, though no one seems to know what that might have been. Perhaps we'll learn more tonight on KUWS.

Brandon Stahl

about 11 years ago

You are correct about Moravchik, though the details as to why -- well, I only know what I've read in the paper.

TimK

about 11 years ago

Brandon- I hope that's not your only source for news!

Jesse Tuna

about 11 years ago

Maybe Red River Broadcasting will fold up the FOX 21 News and replace it with re-runs of the News Center News from KBJR. It's time to clean house down there.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Fired, Laid off, what's the difference? Seriously.

Paul Lundgren

about 11 years ago

I thought I explained the difference.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Either way, you are still screwed.

Ron Brochu

about 11 years ago

From the Cambridge dictionary:
----
fire verb (REMOVE FROM A JOB)
/faɪər /US pronunciation symbol/faɪr/ v
[T] to remove someone from their job, either because they have done something wrong or badly, or as a way of saving the cost of employing them 
----
By the way, I was "fired" from the Daily Telegram for telling Ken Browall and Steve McLister where to put my job. The DNT ran an article about it but never called to get my side of the story. So what is the definition of "reporting"? Perhaps the DNT needs a dictionary, or just a rehash of Journalism 101.

calk

about 11 years ago

I find it ironic that readers are unable to post comments about this story on the DNT's website. I think it'd be poetic justice if Mr. Karwath had to read comments disparaging him on the DNT website, which is an experience plenty of newsmakers and other public figures in this town have had to endure, thanks, in part, to Mr. Karwath's policy of "hands-off" moderation of comments on the DNT's website, because he seemed to think controversy and sensationalism sells newspapers.

adam

about 11 years ago

Difference:

Laid Off = 100% chance at unemployment.

Fired = 100% or less chance at unemployment (malfeasance, or if your employer can game your termination to disqualify you from unemployment, for example).

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

Calk, to celebrate this in any way just shows plain ignorance on your part. 

If anyone thinks that the DNT's elimination of Karwath's position is in any way good for this community, or that the newspaper is going to improve because of this, you are in for an appalling surprise. 

My own speculation, based on Julie Moravchik's alleged experience and from watching media trends everywhere lately, is that this is paving the way for advertising-driven quasi-news service. There are newspapers in this country where reporters must answer to the advertising department for everything they write. I would not be surprised for a minute if that is what ends up happening here. People like Moravchik and Karwath -- actual journalists -- have tried to keep this at bay to the best of their abilities.

I've been criticizing the DNT here for years, because I really care about local news and dislike the direction in which it's been going. This is a dark week for local journalism. If you thought the newspaper was bad before -- just wait, because it's about to get a lot worse. There is no cause to celebrate here.

tiogatime

about 11 years ago

Barrett, perhaps in Fox News' case you are right; I can't speak to that. But, as a journalist at the DNT, I have to say I have seen no basis for the speculative charges you are making here. As far as I can see, the DNT layoffs were to save money, pure and simple, and NOT to appease advertisers or to pave the way for an "advertising-driven quasi-news service."

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

"Speculative" is an appropriate word, but "charges" is too strong for what I am suggesting. It's just a *guess* at some long-term ideas, rather than flat-out accusation.

What I am saying is that the elimination of this position is certainly not beneficial to consumers of local news. A smaller newsroom with fewer journalists isn't going to result in better coverage. It may be to "save money, pure and simple," but it will result in a worse newspaper, and is no cause for celebration on the part of anyone who cares about the community.

tiogatime

about 11 years ago

"A smaller newsroom with fewer journalists isn't going to result in better coverage."

Okay, Barrett, agreed! :-(

vicarious

about 11 years ago

I'm not sure how the dismissal of a particular employee or editor automatically ensures a "worse newspaper." Could it not also improve the service/product?

It did seem that Karwath was a decent journalist, but his regular "Look at us and how vital we are!" columns were distasteful, at best. The newspaper will be improved without them.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Barrett, believe me, I am not celebrating Mr. Karwath's misfortune. I see the powers-that-be taking such a drastic step as laying off two high profile executives at the paper as quite ominous. It makes me wonder if this is the beginning of the end for our daily newspaper.

I am just pointing out that the DNT under Mr. Karwath's watch has followed  a policy of allowing hateful comments about public figures and private individuals in the news to be posted on their website -- but is not allowing comments to be posted underneath the article when it concerns themselves and could result in disparaging comments being posted about Mr. Karwath, his colleagues, and the newspaper itself. I see a total double standard here.

adam

about 11 years ago

Their online editorial policies are all over the map.

zra

about 11 years ago

I know that losing even one of my coworkers would (IMO) greatly diminish not only *my* ability to perform my duties to my own high standard, but also impact the quality of what I produce.

I can't imagine that it'd be too much different anyplace else.

Calk

about 11 years ago

@Zra, you are right. My company has gone through several waves of layoffs in the last couple of years, with the last round bringing down an employee who'd spent like 40 years there and was a few years shy of retirement, as well as the editor-in-chief, who was quite prominent in the industry. Everyone was totally demoralized, it affected our work and our product.

wildgoose

about 11 years ago

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but ... thank God for Perfect Duluth Day.  And no, I'm not taking the Lord's name in Vain there, I really am grateful for this website, especially in a situation like this.  I know it's not perfect and people disagree some ... ok, people disagree A LOT, but at least we have a vibrant, relevant, thoughtful place to discuss these important local issues.

Calk

about 11 years ago

Look at this week's Reader. p. 4, Bob Boone makes the same point I made or tried to make about the DNT not allowing comments on Mr. Karwath's being laid off, and how hypocritical it is. I just wish they better moderated the comments, instead of allowing any crap to be posted, and then not allowing them in this situation.

Barrett Chase

about 11 years ago

I think they should get rid of comments altogether.

Calk

about 11 years ago

I actually agree with you too, Barrett. And they should get rid of the blogs too -- or maybe set up the blogs like PDD is set up. . .

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