Even more than a week later, the News Cut entries (and here) on the Paul Douglas firing/layoff at WCCO TV are among the most heavily-trafficked pages, a testament, I guess, to the popularity of Douglas.
The Star Tribune has carried a daily blurb from Douglas since he returned from his misadventure in Chicago and people have wondered whether he’d still have that gig after exiting WCCO.
Here was Strib editor Nancy Barnes’ assessment in her Sunday column today:
We are working with Paul to determine the future of that column, and I’ll let readers know where we end up. For now, the column will remain.
One new factoid of the departure appeared in Neil Justin’s interview with Douglas in today’s paper. The inability of Douglas to say “goodbye” to the audience (blamed in the comments section of News Cut squarely on the corporate mindset of WCCO) turns out to be a situation entirely of Douglas’ choosing. He told Justin that WCCO wanted him to stay until the end of May and Douglas was having none of it.
The perception that a heartless corporation refused to allow him to say goodbye to viewers is one that Douglas — perhaps inadvertently — fostered in his farewell memo by linking the decision to “terminate” him in the same paragraph as the inability to say “so long.”
It’s just business, dollars and cents – I get it. My only real regret: not saying goodbye to viewers and radio listeners, who I am indebted to for a glorious 22 year career in this market. I leave with fond memories, having worked with the best anchors, reports, producers, directors in the industry, people who I count as irreplaceable friends as well as colleagues.
Looking back, however, the distinction was referenced (sort of) by not using the phrase “not being able to say goodbye.” At the time he wrote the memo about his regret, he was still in a position, presumably, to change his mind.
Justin steered clear of examining the Douglas-Star Tribune relationship.
Unrelated, by the way, in the same Barnes column is a story I guess I missed (I generally avoid both C.J. and Hartman’s stuff) when it happened. But Barnes apologizes for the botched apology regarding gossip columnist C.J. apparently following conjoined twins she spotted at the Mall of America.
“Now, there’s something you don’t see everyday,” I remarked to Walker, returning to our previous conversation as the twins walked by Barnes & Noble. Seconds later, they came into view for Walker, who instantly became the personification of flappable: “Did I just see that? Did I just see what I saw?”
Wince. Did no editor at the Strib intervene here? Apparently not until later, when a C.J. apology appeared:
I regret that the item’s intent — the need to accept differences in people and not to follow them around in public, at a place such as the Mall of America — was misconstrued by their family and friends.
…and even then, apparently, nobody at the Strib noticed that the apology sounded a lot like laying the blame on the family., which prompted Barnes to take another whack at the issue today.