Cincy: 60 buyouts; cartoonist Borgman leads list

[LOL! Today’s Borgman cartoon]

Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Jim Borgman has been at The Cincinnati Enquirer for 32 years, the paper said today, in announcing that it had accepted 60 applications for buyouts; Borgman was one of them. That final total is 10 more than expected. With a buyout offer on the table, the Enquirer had delayed any decisions about layoffs during the most recent round that cut 1,000 jobs from Gannett’s newspaper division.

The Enquirer story says: “Although Borgman’s daily cartoons will end later this month, he will create a new cartoon feature later this year that will appear in his familiar space on the cover of the Sunday Community Forum section.”

Gannett Blog readers are mourning his departure: “Borgman is not only a spectacular talent, he’s also one of the kindest human beings on the planet. This really is a terrible blow. They can get along without the rest of us, but Jim is one of a kind.”

Cincinnati blogger Newsache says: “He was a giant in the newsroom, the best journalist in the Enquirer‘s employ, and it’s telling that in the story the Enquirer published, his is the only name they felt was worth mentioning among those leaving.”

The blogger continues: “There are other good people leaving. There are some unexpected decisions, and some who’ve been refused will not be happy. And, it’s going to be shocking and upsetting just how badly this will affect the breadth and quality of the Enquirer‘s coverage.”

Please post your thoughts in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: today’s Enquirer front page, Newseum]

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15 Responses to “Cincy: 60 buyouts; cartoonist Borgman leads list”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    In the 600 layoffs, Corporate told publishers to protect “our content creation and sales capacity” when deciding which employees to let go. Seems to me that Jim Borgman is an important part of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s content, no?

    Here are Corporate’s layoff instructions to publishers: http://tinyurl.com/62a5zl

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I am not in Cincinnati, but I heard Borgman’s application for a buyout caught them by surprise. The AP story I saw made it sound like he’s giving up the drudgery of daily cartooning for a more reasonable work load.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    With the demise of the C. Post and the Ky. Post, the Enquirer “won” the newspaper war in pig city. But it has become the defintion of a pyrric victory, as the Enquirer is badly floundering and needs something to fight against. I really can’t blame Borgman for his decision, but can only note that his absence is going to leave the Enquirer a very, very dreary product.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    A couple of years ago, the Courier-Journal’s cartoonist, Nick Anderson, a Pultizer winner, left the CJ for another opportunity in Houston.

    Gannett didn’t allow the CJ to fill that posltion. Louisville readers lost content when he left. It didn’t matter to Gannett that this real talent left. They didn’t see fit to allow the CJ editors to bring in another talented cartoonist.

    Today, the CJ is forced to use local freelance cartoonists. They are routine in delivery (artistic quality), simplistic content and without either irony or comedy.

    The Louisville readers know they have lost content; Cincy readers have lost that too.

    Gannett doesn’t understand content or care about it.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Being ever gracious, humble and a true Midwesterner, Jim is playing nice publicly, in re: work load. Yes, he is in essence working two jobs with “Zits” and the editorial page cartooning. But when a paper stops sending it Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist – a cartoonist who has never slacked off, who has given it his best time and again right up to creating a groundbreaking blog – to the national political conventions. When it screws with his blog. When it stops showing true enthusiasm for his work. Well, that says it all. He deserves better. We’ll miss him but cannot be happier for him personally.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    This is just another sad footnote in the rapid decline of The Cincinnati Enquirer under MB. The Enquirer’s employees, readers and even Gannett deserve far better.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Nick Anderson now works for the Houston Chronicle, which syndicates his work. CJ is happy to run many of his nationally oriented cartoons, which it gets for much much less than it paid him. Score!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I’m not sure I would call that a “score” for Louisville. What you lose still is the perspective of a local cartoonist. Local editorial cartoons are incredibly popular with readers, but something else Gannett has turned its back on in recent years.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    When you get 20 percent more buyout applications than you anticipated, your staff is telling you something about what they think of your product, IMHO.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    And 10:07 a.m., more importantly, they’re saying something about the leadership being provided from the 20th floor.

    It’s likely that a good job economy would have resulted in even higher numbers.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    The Enquirer has lost so many valuable employees, that it is just a mere shadow of its former self.

    The community has given up on it and the departure of Borgman will be the final nail in the coffin.

    MB is the worst publisher to ever try to run The Enquirer. Her trail of blood and lawsuits have followed her from every posting she has held.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s the list of those departing the Cincinnati Enquirer newsroom:

    Betty Barnett
    Jim Borgman
    Martin Eggerding
    Ann Haas
    Ann Hicks
    Allen Howard
    Jim Knippenberg
    Tony Lang
    Alan Vondarhaar
    William Weathers
    John Wolfe
    Joy Kraft
    Jennifer Schwertman
    Margaret McGurk
    Sara Pearce

    Many more in the newsroom wanted to leave. If you see anyone here you know, send them congratulations!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Re 11:44 — Six of those are coming from features, which was already stripped down. Looks like Callinan is finally going to get his wish and kill the section.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    In response to anonymous 10:07 and 11:02: People didn’t necessarily apply for the buyout because they think the Enquirer sucks, the publisher sucks, Gannett sucks or whatever. In some cases, they were people who were somewhat close to retirement anyway, and they decided to jump at the chance to take a deal that might not come along ever again. I think what people are losing sight of is that despite everything that’s happened in this industry over the past several years–gutted newsrooms, being asked to do more with less, plummeting ad revenues and readership, countless misguided Gannett initiatives, ever-changing job responsibilities, etc.–there are some who still truly love their jobs and the people they work with (and in some cases, even the ones they work for), and that’s why they’ve stayed. It’s not unlike staying in a long-term relationship that isn’t working because you’re still in love and are hoping that you’ll be able to weather what might just be a passing storm and make it work again. The thought of just picking up and leaving it all behind can be completely and utterly terrifying. Would it be better, ultimately, if you just left? Maybe. But I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people who decided to take the buyout after sticking for so long with something that they could have just left, at any point, years ago.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Aside from Borgman and Knipp, those on the list, while fine people, AREN’T employees critical to the paper’s success. I’ve been at The Enquirer for 5 years and I have never heard of at least 4 of those people. There are some fine journalists in features and some hard workers — but way too few of either. I am no Enquirer management fan, but they DID hire three new people because they surpassed the newsroom quota for taking the buyout. At least one of the new hires, Barry Horstman, will be a MAJOR addition.

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