The Joker in the Newsroom

We all know that print journalism is on its heels at the moment, not yet having found steady footing for an era in which the digital revolution is disrupting a business model that’s held relatively steady for the better part of a century. I’m not sure anyone realized it had gotten this bad, however. From CBS St. Louis:

The Kansas City Star reportedly told two reporters that they had to figure out which one of them was going to get laid off.

Jim Romenesko reported on his blog that management told reporters Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann that they would have to decide their fate and that the managers would stay out of it.

“They brought in two reporters – Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann – and told them that one of them had to go,” an unidentified staffer told KC Confidential. “And that they had to decide which one would stay and they had until next week to figure it out. Sort of like ‘The Hunger Games.” ’That’s the scuttlebutt anyway.”

It seems to me that we conservatives have gone a bit overboard of late in finding signs of societal decline in every tea leaf, so I’ll resist the temptation to impute some broader social trend to the management of a single newspaper wanting to solve personnel problems in the Octagon

Still, even in the limited context of the Star, I’d hope we can all agree that it’s a dereliction of duty when the bosses — who get paid, after all, to get their hands dirty on the tough calls — default to the management style of the Joker.