Reader: USAT’s Paulson ‘eloquent’ industry leader

Regarding my comment, giving credit to top USA Today editor Ken Paulson for inspiring this blog, by treating me poorly during a staff meeting, a reader says: “Jim, I was there during that ‘putdown’ by KP, and if that was enough to send you into a tailspin, then you obviously aren’t built very tuff. Ken Paulson is a good editor who believes in his newsroom being a community and that is why he shows the staff photos and similar things. He is funny and clever and knows how to hold a microphone. He also knows how to stand up for the highest ideals of the profession, and often is eloquent in an industry whose top leaders often are the worst communicators in the business.

“If he has lied to his staff, we have not seen that yet. He has been open and forthright and has fought for his newsroom far more than many people realize. He is not perfect. But the worst editor you’ve ever worked for? That’s the kind of hyperbole and stretch that diminishes this blog, which despite the real public service it performs, somehow loses a grip on reality far too often. And when it comes from a reporter who should know better, it doubly hurts this product.

USA Today is getting through all this because Ken Paulson is carefully moving step by step. He has not panicked, he has not deceived, and he has been a fighter. You don’t like his style, well that is fine. But he deserves better.”

Join the debate, in the original post.

[Image: yesterday’s USAT front page, Newseum]

37 Responses to “Reader: USAT’s Paulson ‘eloquent’ industry leader”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    To clarify: Paulson’s abysmal behavior extended well beyond the monthly staff meetings.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with the poster. KP is managing his newsroom the best he can , given the tough times. It is easy for an editor to manage in good times. It takes courage and skills to manage through a down market.
    Jim, you have lost your journalism skills in favor of sensationalism.
    And you used to be pretty good.
    I’m not sure you know the difference anymore between fact and fiction. Seems you like to inflame your readers….thus the nature of your sensational posts. You are drinking your own kool aid too often.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    The experiences I have had with Ken Paulson have all been positive, both in his stint as editor of USAT and also when he helped run the First Amendment Center.

    I believe Ken wants to do great journalism and is struggling, like all of us do, to function as an editor and journalist during the worst economic stretch any of us in the business have ever seen.

    Jim, you have every right to publish this blog and downgrade Gannett. But your treatment of Ken Paulson went beyond that. It showed just how personal your quest is and clearly defined your own bias.

    The ironic thing is on this blog you remind us before we post responses to “please avoid personal attacks.” You clearly violated your own rules, Jim.

    I will take future comments from you with a grain of salt.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “It is easy for an editor to manage in good times. It takes courage and skills to manage through a down market,” said 7:59.

    This kind of thinking just simply puzzles me.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I lean towards agreeing with Jim, but stop short of saying Ken Paulson is the worst editor I’ve ever seen at USAT or anywhere else. Of course, I have nothing really to base my opinions on except for what I’ve seen in large public meetings with him. I doubt he even knows who I am. And I am an editor at USAT, and that’s part of the problem!

    In my opinion, Karen J. was a worse editor, but at least she made an effort to get to know each person in the newsroom through her “tea with the editor” sessions. She said hello to me by name when we passed in the hallways. Granted, the teas were a bit contrived, but at least it was something to make us feel she wanted to know all of us, and not just the high visibility people.

    Paulson says his door is open, but it only seems open to people and topics he’s comfortable with. Those of us who might want to discuss difficult things, and who haven’t been able to have a relationship with him for whatever reason, would be extremely hesitant to walk through that door. I know of at least two people who brought issues to Paulson, and got virtually no resolution. In fact, one of them regretted even approaching Paulson.

    I also tend to evaluate top editors by the managers directly under them. Any opinions out there about that crew?

    As for the baby pictures and all of that, well, I am not sure that is the best way to build a real “community.” But some people do like that stuff. It’s like politicians kissing babies. It’s silly, and we know why they do it, but it still seems to work. Hey, some people are easy. Personally, I expect more from leaders than kissing babies.

    Compared to some of the bores we’ve had as editors in the past, yeah, I guess Paulson is witty. However, working a room isn’t quite as important to me as building individual relationships. Just my opinion. I realize some are impressed with the way Paulson holds a microphone, but if I had my choice, I would rather have an editor who relentlessly sought the truth from his/her employees, particularly during bad times, so that solutions could be found to a wide range of problems.

    Maybe Jim knows more about Paulson than some of us. You don’t really get to know a person until you go through some difficult times with them or have some defining moment where one’s real character surfaces.

    From a distance, Paulson seems to me to be a bit goofy, if not slightly showy or even phony, but I have no way of gauging his passion for good journalism. I suppose one doesn’t get to that level without some love for the business, but like with many top editors, he does seem a tad distant from the front line.

    His act at the staff meetings doesn’t move me at all. Has he ever visited one of those babies or parents? At least that would be something more genuine and sincere…I mean, if you want to go down that touchy-feely road of newsroom management. Just showing pictures to warm up the crowd seems gimmicky to me. Maybe a cynic would say it was just his way of warming up the audience so that question aren’t to biting later on. If so, it’s worked wonders!

    I do credit Paulson for putting USAT U in perspective and avoiding slogans like “3G.” God, was that the worst or what? He seems to have an awareness of the absurd, and steers the ship away from the really idiotic stuff. If he could get rid of annual reviews, or at least make the process less tedious and parochial, he’d score major points throughout the newsroom. He made one stab at streamlining the process a few years ago, but I really haven’t seen much change.

    One other question for those who know Paulson better. Some have said that his temper gets the best of him at times. He can really blow up. Can get very ugly. Has anyone seen that side of him? Is this another reason why folks are reluctant to asked tough questions or walk into his office with a problem?

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Jim, your bias is showing. It just diminishes everything you do. You have a clear agenda against USAT. We are smarter than to take your bait.

    If you believe in watchdog journalism, which I believe you do, go find a job where you can contribute fairly and not based on your personal agenda.

  7. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I felt it necessary to credit Paulson with inspiring this blog after I saw signs there had been an effort to blame others for my launching this site. If Paulson is the stand-up guy some say he is, then he and Craig Moon will publicly repudiate any further witch hunts.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    The best editors combine charisma, talent and honesty. There is a sense of them being authentic people with great journalistic integrity, attention to detail and a feel for human beings. They are organizers and fixers. They make employees, no matter what their rank, feel important. Terrific judges of character. Not afraid to fight the good fight, even at the risk of losing their own jobs. They purge the newsroom of talentless people and open doors to those who show promise. They search every corner of the newsroom for good ideas in a sincere manner. They hire qualified people, and when they make a mistake, they admit it and find a remedy asap.

    Ken Paulson is no Ben Bradley.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    USA Today is so big that KP is almost a non-factor in some ways. It’s the editors one or two levels down who can make the most difference in how the newsroom operates. Of course, KP has a big say in who those editors are.

    Even if Jim has a bone to pick, I think there is still value in reading various opinions about the top editor at the top newspaper.

    And since when is a blog suppose to be totally objective, regardless of who it’s written by? Most newspapers don’t even police personal opinions the way they once did. The media slants so much that I have to read at least three newspapers to get a more accurate picture.

    I support Jim’s right to editorialize at times on here. Apparently the USA Today editor has no problem giving his opinion about this blog. It goes both ways.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t know USA Today’s editor. But I do read the paper fairly often when I travel. I find it to be lacking in many areas of interest that I have, so therefore I also subscribe to The Washington Post. BTW, I was in the business many years ago, but just for a brief time.

    Shouldn’t the editor of a newspaper require broader coverage. Even the Post, known to be a political newspaper, covers important topics like animal rights. I rarely see stories about things like that in USA Today, which tends to cover more trendy news.

    Again, I don’t know this editor, but I have seen somewhat of a decline in the scope of news covered by the paper in recent years. The paper seems limited, for lack of a better way of describing it.

    Hey, I also find this blog kind of fascinating. Why are you guys down on it’s founder?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Paulson doesn’t bother me that much. He’s not too much different than other top dogs in print or online. He leans towards schtick, which is actually better than what we get from above and below him at times.

    What bothers me about all these top editors is that that are paid, in part, to relate to the entire staff. Yet they have no idea who half the people are in their newsroom. Can’t recall Kinsey ever even saying hello to me, unless I initiated a “howdy.” Some can’t even look at you. Craig Moon? Forget it. This dude is as dry and cold as they come. But at least he doesn’t pretend to be a friend of the newsroom. Doesn’t show us baby pictures. Hey, in some ways, I can respect that. I know where he stands.

    Top editors can’t afford to have high school-like cliques, but that’s exactly what they cling to. They stay within their comfort zones. That creates false perceptions in which they base their sometimes faulty decisions. They don’t get an accurate read on the pulse of the newsroom by staying within their cozy groups.

    So, yeah, it could be worse. Paulson hasn’t done anything to me personally. But I don’t feel any allegiance to him. I certainly don’t rely on him to motivate me. I actually think the next top editor could be far worse and far more willing to dismantle the print staff even more.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    No use having KP or any top editor ask us in for a heart-to-heart. Most people are going to lie or at least be less than frank in that situation. It’s just the way things are in the USAT newsroom. Very few folks left willing to go out on a limb to describe exactly how they feel about their jobs. Most are clinging to that paycheck, trying to smile and doing the best they can. While some might appreciate an invitation into the editor’s office, many just want to remain off the radar, which is why so many things never get solved.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Jim, it’s your blog. Say what you want, man. Even if we don’t like it or don’t agree with it, at least it’s genuine feelings and opinions being expressed. More genuine than projecting baby pictures IMHO. I don’t feel as manipulated here as I do in a typical USAT meeting! We all have an agenda (including Ken Paulson), and this blog is more out in the open, which is a good thing. I wish there was that same kind of transparency at USAT.
    I always prefer knowing exactly where someone stands and what their intentions and motivationss are…even if I don’t concur with them. I tired of editors speaking in tongues to me.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Didn’t Paulson bring in Steppenwolf’s lead singer to some event once? Maybe Ken’s a frustrated or wannabe rock star! He’d rather entertain his staff than inform or assist them. He does seem to enjoy being on that stage once a month. I fully expect him to walk on stage with a guitar at some point.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    JH, tell us more about KP’s “abysmal behavior.” I know you don’t want to libel the man, but you kind of opened the door to us wondering what you meant by that.

    I barely know KP, but maybe further insights about him might give some of us a clue as to why things are so damn dysfunctional in that newsroom. The dysfunction, I am told, started long before his being hired, but it certainly has continued in many forms.

    Many of us at USAT are fairly recent hires. We’re curious about the history of some of our leaders.

  16. Jim Hopkins Says:

    11:37: Start by reading my recent posts about the Freedom Forum, where KP is a trustee. You can find them by clicking on the appropriate label in the blue sidebar, on the right.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    There aren’t too many top editors out there, Paulson included, that rose up for the right reasons. In 30 years in the business (in and out of Gannett) I worked for just one who had all the right stuff.

    Some editors get to the top on the backs of others. Some rise up because they look nice in a suit. Others might have been terrific writers or line editors, which doesn’t always mean they will make great managers. Some are simply good at kissing ass or happen to go to the same college as the publisher.

    The trick in dealing with these editors is to not overly heighten your expectations of them.

    We were raised to believe in our leaders. We expected them to teach, inspire and to lead the charge…to get down in the fox hole with us and sometimes protect us. Well, these are different times. We see it on Wall Street and in Washington. And we also see it in the newsrooms across the country. The gap between top and bottom is widening. We don’t have that blind faith anymore. Heck, many of us don’t even know our editors. Certainly never been to their houses. Never seen them outside the office. They’ll give us some popcorn and show us baby pictures, and maybe that’s enough for most people.

    As long as Paulson does no harm and has no ill intentions, I’m OK working for him. I don’t expect him to take a bullet for any of us. Actually, I am so far below him, he really doesn’t matter much in my day-to-day functions. The only thing I really need from my bosses is for them to stay out of the way and let me do my job. Give me the resources and I will take care of everything.

    Perhaps Jim had different requirements or expectations of Paulson. Perhaps I too need to read Jim’s Freedom Forum posts.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with 12:39. Keep your expectations of top managers low and you won’t be that disappointed in them when they eventually screw you. Top editors like Paulson are generally no different than any other empty suits in any other biz. He might be, as some have said, a pretty good guy who can make funny jokes and appreciate a good piece of journalism. But I have no doubt that he is also somewhat disconnected from the troops and capable of destroying anyone who gets in his way. Just the nature of most managers. Be grateful he isn’t mean just for the sake of being mean, like some egotiscal and highly insecure editors I have had.

  19. john reinan Says:

    Since there seems to be a lot of interest in this thread, I’ll tell my one and only Ken Paulson story. I was working in Westchester under Larry Beaupre in the early ’90s. Larry left and Ken came in as editor.

    I had recently moved from reporting to an assistant metro editor job. Fairly soon into his tenure — maybe two months? — Ken called me into his office one day and was critical of my performance. I didn’t see it coming and was surprised, because Larry had put me in that job and seemed happy with my work. I well remember one phrase Ken used: “You’re like a first-round draft pick. I think you have talent, but I’m not seeing it.”

    As it turned out, my old editor in Little Rock, Keith Moyer, offered me a job in Rochester almost immediately after that. I took it and had no other contact with Ken Paulson.

    Cut to about 8 years later. I was reporting for the Charlotte Observer and was a finalist for a Green Eyeshade award, a regional SPJ award that covers 14 southeastern states. The awards dinner was in Atlanta, and Ken Paulson — then at the First Amendment Foundation — was the keynote speaker.

    During dinner, Paulson came up to my table and greeted me. He congratulated me sincerely and said, “Well, I guess I was wrong about you.” He was very gracious.

    I’m not contradicting anyone else’s opinions of him. All I’m saying is that he didn’t have to seek me out; he could have easily not remembered my name or who I was, since I only worked for him a few months, years ago.

    But he made a point of seeking me out and wishing me well. I don’t have anything else to go on, so in my world, he gets good marks.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    12:58. That showed some integrity on Paulson’s part. But what about his initial faulty appraisal of your work? I don’t question the man’s common decency, I question his judgment and level of engagement in all the little things that makes or breaks a big newsroom like USAT’s. And while he didn’t have to seek you out, as you say, he is a politician of sorts, so it was to his advantage also to smooth things over. Look, all these years later you said something nice about him here! Score a point for Paulson.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Feh, I dunno, he always seems like a decent guy to me. In an organization this big, the person in his seat is about 12 levels removed from the person in my seat, so it’s not like I really expect him to come up and offer to fix a couple of grafs of copy for me. I just want someone to set overall policy and watch out for the newsroom; as best as I can tell, he’s done that (and he’s been pretty successful at trimming the kind of slash ‘n’ hack layoffs we’ve seen elsewhere).

    I actually like the baby photo/wedding/etc. routine at the monthly meetings. It humanizes things, makes us feel like we’re more than just meat puppets and takes all of about five minutes.

    And as far as Jim’s anger over an editor who worked thousands of miles away, who Jim couldn’t have seen in person any more than a handful of times, who Jim probably never got a direct order/request/issue from ever…well, I just don’t get it, but I don’t have to.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s Ken’s biggest fault the way I see it from within his newsroom. There are plenty of things that need to be fixed. Perhaps it isn’t his job to fix them all, but it is his job to hire, encourage and maintain a workforce that can. So when he goes off into “baby picture land,” it rubs some people the wrong way. It makes them feel like the daily operational issues are never going to be addressed, let alone fixed. When he doesn’t seem to know what some of his captains are doing, it makes some of us worker ants believe he is too cavalier and uninformed. I have reason to believe, for instance, that he never even read my review or self appraisal a couple years ago. There was an obvious reason he should have followed up on something with me, or at least my supervisor, but didn’t. In some ways, he reminds me a bit of Ronald Reagan. A lot of charm and presence, but not much desire to dive into the details of the workings of his newsroom. He’s let a lot of things and people slide.

    Paulson has had some time to fix things. He gets good marks for being a frontman, as others have said, and has revised some bad policies from the Karen-Mazz era. But the baby pictures would go over even better if he really buckled down and came up with a plan we could all get behind — one that will not only improve operations and morale, but also address what is a disjointed merger movement with online. He too often turns the mic over to people who tell him what he wants to hear, and doesn’t ask the tough questions himself — questions that concern most of us and that he has the full authority to ask.

    With that said, I think there is a better than average chance that when Ken leaves, we’re going to end up with a far less humane editor. I guess we need to appreciate, or at least tolerate, what we have.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t want Ken hovering over me either, 3:23, but I do want more substance and less fluff. Maybe I am naive, but I want to feel that my career and your career matters to him. I do want him to know my name, without my having to go knock on his door to introduce myself after years of working together in the same building. In my opinion, we’re not so big of a newsroom that the editor gets a pass on that. Maybe that seems trivial, but if he wants to humanize things, maybe he can do something in addition to showing baby pics in a crowded auditorium.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Another two cents… Bottom line: KP is middle of the road material. Since Al left, USAT has never sought high-profile, hard-charging, roll-your-sleeves-up top editors. God, some barely had a pulse. With Ken, at least I don’t begin nodding off until at least 15 minutes into the staff meetings. I try to show up a bit late, after the baby pictures. His main weakness: He hasn’t seemed willing to upgrade the level under him. Those are the managers who really run the show.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Ken is head and shoulders above the editors who harbored the likes of people such as Hal R. Memba’ him? Gawd!

    Ken doesn’t seem to govern through arrogance. He might not inspire everyone, and has some weaknesses, but at least he seems willing to keep the paper alive and viable, which is more than I see from some other high-ranking editors who can’t seem to wait for print to collapse and are doing what they can to accelrate that process.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Bring back Dubill, even if he might have been one of the people supporting the evil Hal! That was a man of character and real humor. Why Dubill was never named to the top position is beyond me. No one is perfect, but Dubill was a straight shooter, knew the business and had the charisma and wit that wasn’t contrived. If he showed a baby picture, it was probably because he went and visited the mom in the maternity ward. I’ve seen him at funerals, with no fanfare, quietly paying his respects. He had backbone and could be the star in the room, but didn’t have to be. He seemed to have balance and a sense of himself that others have lacked, yet was a character for the ages.

    I am not knocking Ken as strongly as some have, but I am not buying all these accolades either. Something is wrong in the newsroom, and it goes beyond the economy and industry woes. Something is wrong with the way people who report to Ken run things, and he needs to address that if there is going to be real harmony in all the sections on all levels.

    The top editor is getting lots of attention today. Wonder if he reads this stuff?

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I am ready for new leadership. I don’t see anyone in the current lineup who inspires me much or gives me confidence that they are equally committed to print and digital, and know how to blend the two. Maybe it’s getting time for new blood. Ken held the fort but perhaps a fresh perspective is needed to get us through some rocky times.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Turnover at the top is bound to come in the next year or two, so all this baby picture anxiety will pass…lol. Top editors don’t usually stay in office too long at USAT. Surprisingly, however, the next management level down from Ken has been relatively stable, barring a few flighty DMEs. Whether that’s good or bad is up for discussion. Have at it.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    Any editor at USA Today who complains Ken Paulson “doesn’t know who I am” says far more about he or she than about the guy at the top.

    All this he-doesn’t-know-me stuff comes from people who are too afraid to rock the boat or make things better. Is it so hard to go into his office? To come up with a new idea that you can take credit for? To do something that stands out so he WILL know your name?

    USA Today has hundreds of employees. If you want a shop where the top guy or gal comes around at night, puts their arm around you and says “what are you working on?” well Gannett has plenty of smaller papers for that.

    People who sit at their desks trembling are anonymous by defintion. And that goes for any company.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Good point, 5:53 PM. I’ve got to agree with you on this one.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    My only contact with Paulson was indirect. I was put in charge of revamping a regular feature. I made my changes, had them approved by my direct editors and got them published. After the first issue, it turned out one of the elements I replaced was a Paulson favorite and he ordered it put back without even consulting me or anyone else who had any input on the new version. That’s the worst kind of micro-managing bullshit there is. I have no idea if it’s typical of him, but since then I’ve had no respect for him.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    I remember hearing a conversation between Paulson and someone else in the newsroom in Westchester around 1995-96. The someone else (not me) was trying to convince KP that all reporters needed computers with Internet access in order to do the job properly. Well, KP, being the man of vision that he is, insisted that such a thing was not necessary. His reason? “The internet is too complicated. Reporters aren’t going to use it…”

    The vision thing….

  33. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask of the editor of any size paper to know who works in the newsroom and have a vague idea of what they do. I don’t see people trembling at their desks as 5:53 states. For the most part, I see people at USAT trying to do their jobs under tough circumstances. The complaint of Ken not reaching out enough was probably made because some of his defenders have painted a picture of a guy who is trying to humanize the newsroom by showing baby pictures at large staff meetings.

    The point is, I think, that there are other things he could do that might get better results. Not sure what this attack on the average Joe is all about from 5:53 or why he wants to exile anyone with an opinion about the editor. Just more blog intolerance, I guess.

    I hear plenty of ideas offered by plenty of engaged people around me. They aren’t frozen with fear, although I will agree that some don’t want to risk rocking he boat too much. I haven’t heard of anyone who is afraid of Ken, but some do wonder how receptive he is. Is that a crime, 5:53, to wonder about your boss? Do you seriously think the top-paid person in the newsroom doesn’t have a responsibility to do anything more to interact with his staff other than hold a mass assembly once a month?

    I have nothing against Ken, but I do expect leaders to set examples, remember some names and maybe even wish me a merry Christmas. If that’s too much to ask of a boss just because he’s running a larger newsroom than Salisbury, Md., than maybe us “complainers” should seek out a place where people truly are more human as 5:53 suggests so angerily.

    I don’t buy that Ken or any metro editor is too big and too busy to make an effort to touch people individually. At the Washington Post, the editor there use to talk to every single employee about their goals and ambitions and any problems they have. Not sure if that’s still going on, but that’s how some people rose up in the ranks. That’s how Carolyn Hax went from copy editor to advice columnist, becaue the editor was proactive in picking her brain. But what 5:53 seems to be suggesting is that we should all barge into Ken’s office whenever we feel like it, and if we don’t, then anything that goes wrong is on us. I simply do not agree with 5:53. I prefer the Post’s editor’s approach. I think it shows that the editor cares. I think it gets results. Is that the kind of small town paper you are suggesting we all go to 5:53?

    There isn’t much harsh criticism of Ken on here, except maybe from Jim. But those who do have some relatively minor issues are dead on in my opinion. Just as the staff needs to do more in these trying times, so does top management. I think that is what most people are saying here.
    Ken, and all the editors under him, could do a bit more. Simple as that.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    11:08. I have heard about those one-on-one meetings with the editor at the Wash Post. Good stuff came from them. People felt they had voice without having to crash into the editor’s office to speak privately. The Post wasn’t too big for the editor to proactively seek out his staffers once a year, so I am not sure why 5:53 thinks USA Today is too large for that kind of thing. I am also not sure why Ken, who has noted a decline in attendance at his staff meetings at times, wouldn’t want to try a different approach in reaching his employees. Aren’t we all suppose to embrace change? Or does that just apply to the folks who do the hands-on work?

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Ken’s a typical USAT editor. More of a figure-head than a true day-in, day-out leader. I am not saying that’s a bad thing, but I do think it is causing some people to grade him on a scale that isn’t exactly applicable. On the other hand, who really cares? We all have to go to work, do our jobs and pay our bills. If he wants to show me 100 baby pictures, I still get paid the same. Ken makes plenty of money, I am sure, and probably doesn’t need anyone defending him. He’s not the main problem at USAT in my opinion. Far from it.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    To: @11:43

    What is the main problem at USAT?

  37. Anonymous Says:

    Main problems at USAT? Well, without getting into a long, drawn out comment, here are some problems that have remained relatively consistent (mostly referring to my specific department in the newsroom):

    1. Lack of respect for people who have more than earned it over the years.
    2. Way too many cooks in the kitchen which tend to dilute otherwise good work or create more rework than necessary.
    3. Favoritism. I understand slightly bending the rules for your “stars,” but I don’t understand not holding people to the same general standards and requirements. Creates resentments.
    4. A lack of truly inspirational managers — editors who bring more than popcorn and pizza to the table. Who know how to edit but also know how to organize and motivate and tell the truth.
    5. Harboring of too many unqualified employees simply based on corporate diversity pressures. Too much coddling of below-average staffers who just happen to be good at kissing ass and hiding their true feelings.

    These problems existed before Paulson, and will probably exist after him at USAT.

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