In his column on Tuesday, the editor/publisher of The Union somehow thinks it’s a “badge of honor” that the president of the local teachers union sent him an email to cancel his subscription.
The column said this about Jim Drew, the high-school district’s Teachers Association President: “He and his wife (who also teaches) said if they are forced to take unpaid days off, they will have to cut expenses, so he thought he’d start with his newspaper subscription. Never mind that we’ve given their students plenty of publicity over the years. Never mind that their combined income probably exceeds at least $160,000 per year (he is at the very top of the pay scale).”
•The column also alleges – but offers no proof – that people who disagree with “union bosses” such as Drew “need to be careful what he says because union bosses don’t like renegades.” That’s a serious (but unanswered) charge.
•Last, the column suggests that “tenured” teachers are somehow old and out of touch with students. Isn’t the high-school football coach, among others, a tenured teacher?
The allegations all sidestep the real point that the teachers and teachers union have been making about The Union’s recent reporting of the proposed furlough plan: It was one sided, and it mixed news with commentary. And the response, rather than being apologetic and contrite, shows a “bunker mentality.”
The publisher himself wrote a front-page news article the other day without getting the teacher’s side. Any Editor should have sent him to the corner for failing Journalism 101. Oh, but he’s also is the editor, not just the publisher — an inherent conflict of interest.
In addition, as the high-school superintendent Ralf Swenson wrote this past weekend about follow-up commentary under the very same byline: “My concern about the impact of Mr. Ackerman’s article is that the intent looked very different from the perspective of some of our teachers and staff members. As some of them have expressed to me, this article felt like an effort to put public pressure on them, and perhaps to pit some segments of our community against one another.”
Last, despite what the column in The Union purports, it’s the newspaper’s *job* to “give their students plenty of publicity over the years.” This is a common refrain in The Union nowadays: That the community somehow owes it something. Newspapers come and go over the years based on the merit of running their business.
Which brings me to the point of CEO or publisher’s own “tenure” in the business world — something that also should be part of the discussion, given how it is playing out and serving to further polarize the community.
“It has often been argued that an organization’s strategy and structure must be tailored or matched to the challenges posted by its environment,” according to an article “Stale in the Saddle: CEO Tenure.” “Our research shows that this match is less likely to be achieved by long-tenured CEOs than by their counterparts with less tenure.”
It adds: “This thesis of this research is that long-tenured CEOs grow stale in the saddle – they ignore their environments. The longer the tenure, the poorer the match; that is, the worse the fit or alignment, between organization and environment.
“We suspect that explains why ecological selection and bureaucratic models apply to so many organizations, why succession is often preceded by financial problems and why major reorientations often take place only after a change in CEOs.”
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