March 28th, 2012
Derek Donovan

     Derek Donovan, who has done an admirable job in the tough position as the Readers’ Representative at the Kansas City Star since 2004, has been promoted to the new position of Public Editor, according an announcement by the McClatchy-owned newspaper.
    His promotion is effective next week.
    Donovan, 42, will continue as the newspaper’s Readers’ Representative while assuming new responsibility for the newsroom’s social media content, including its Kansascity.com Web site, Facebook and Twitter.
    Donovan joined The Star in 1995 as a library database manager and became library director in 1998. Before becoming the paper’s Readers’ Representative, he served as the newsroom’s director of research and information.
    He has degrees from Truman State University and Stephen F. Austin State University.

17 Responses

  1. Inafunkaboutyael says:

    What an awful job to have to show up to. Why don’t they name him ” Caprain of the Titanic” instead?

  2. Rich says:

    Derek does an admirable job in a very difficult position. His promotion is well earned.

  3. jane Nutt says:

    I want to commend you for highlighting Frank White with such a nice coverage of what he has meant to this area, and is still doing.
    He is a very good example for all people of all ages – Thank you

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  5. Luann Reese says:

    I realize this is not your problem but I am hoping you will help me. Unfortunately, I have found customercare/kcstar.com to be a joke. Several times before and after Christmas I wrote requesting the name of my paper carrier. I wished to write him a note with a small gift to let him know how much I appreciate his faithful service and consideration. I never received a response even tho I left my name, phone# and address. I do want to send a message to this man who never misses a delivery and in inclement weather throws my paper near my garage door. I am a senior citizen (84) and deeply appreciate his kindness. Can you please ask someone to send me his name in order that I may thank him? You have my e-mail address.
    Thank you! Luann Reese
    12403 Frost Rd.
    KCMO 64138

  6. Forrest Taylor says:

    I have noticed that there is not always a flag on all of the veterans obituaries. Who decides that??

    • JohnLandsberg says:

      Derek Donovan has responded to your inquiry: “The flags are completely free for death notices and paid obituaries of all veterans. But not every family or funeral home requests them.”
      Thanks, Derek.

  7. larry holtel says:

    I’ve had it with the star. after 42 plus years as a star subscriber I am through in the towel. this paper dose not print the news. In your eyes Obama can’t do no wrong. So because of the papers liberal stance I am dropping my home delivery. Just to let you know I don’t watch The 3 liberal news networks either. Would love to see a real newspaper company buy the star.

  8. James McCormick says:

    DEAR GOD–IT IS MYSELF AGAIN–that dreadful piece by M.Sanchez again is something either deliberately obtuse or downright planned racism. She fiddles around with all the chatter about investigations, Attorneys General from generally all over, about protests and cops–whose procedures remain innocent ignorance for her–but then she casually dismisses that the universal sign for surrender, hands-up, really isn’t that significant
    In fact all autopsies show that the surrender hands-up is precisely what happened, and that is precisely what the rioting is about. She cannot dismiss the major issue with any amount of “blithering” (my coined word) about procedures.
    Thank God the NAACP got the Lawyer from Trayvon Martin’s case (a million-dollar attorney really for free), and he announced promptly what else is necessary after the autopsy reports for the family to insist upon the officer’s arrest.
    Sanchez is both facile and pompous in her assumed grasp of difficult and comprehensive issues which is why she is a comprehensive ass! She belongs on back pages where obituaries are for 77 yr olds who did not make it to 77 the very day she presented her ghastly column
    Sanchez is unfit for such an import organ of communication as]]\ the STAR which I still value, and his new editors give new promise. Please–get this to her INTACT with my name writ large.
    James McCormick KC MO 64111 3227 central st ee as above

  9. Mary Raynolds says:

    Why has nothing been printed about the Jewel Ball? The Star prints extensive coverage of very impressive large weddings so why not coverage of this event? The people involved with the Jewel Ball are mostly citizens who donate their time and money for the betterment of the city. Is the Star so egalitarian that these people can’t be recognized?

    • JohnLandsberg says:

      Keep in mind, most of the big write-ups for weddings are really paid advertisements similar to obituaries.

  10. neita geilker says:

    I am delighted at the new look of the Star, specifically the use of left justified text throughout–except for obits. I have “preached” this for years. So reader friendly. Thanks!

  11. Mary Duerst says:

    I love the new look of the Star.

    I recently visited one of the best kept secrets in the area. It is called Cedar Cove, Feline Conservatory & Education Center. It is a twenty minute drive from Kansas City on Hwy 69. What a treat for a weekend experience. I would love to see an article in the Star about this place.

  12. Virginia Graham says:

    I like the new changes to the Star and the overall look. I also enjoy some of the new puzzles. The crossword is harder but think I would eventually have conquered it but prefer the old Daily Crossword.

    The one thing that I, and a few of my friends, do not care for at all is the Celebrity Cipher. It is super difficult and most often the quote and the celebrities are not what most of us would come up with. To me the daily CrytoQuip was a challenge and I always felt so great when I was able to complete it. Keep up the good work at the Star. I know many people now prefer reading online but I get so much more out of the actual paper and will always subscribe to it as long as you put out a printed edition.

    Thank you and your staff for keeping us in the rural area of Kansas City informed.

  13. esther griffin says:

    Hello Mr. Donovan, The article today about Independence Avenue Spiffs Up Its Image was inspiring. However, it would be helpful if an article could be written in The Star about all the help, good will and encouragement that comes from the tireless work of The Faith Based communities in that area and all over the metro.
    According to the Pew Foundation research and others, the general population is quitting the faith based communities. Do you see away to bring attention to the fact that without the work of these communities our quality of life in Kansas City would be greatly diminished? Thank you for your listening ear. esther griffin – 1221 W. 63rd Terrace, K.C. Mo. 64113 – 816-523-0233.

  14. Carroll L. Story says:

    Open Letter to Mr. Donovan

    I had hoped to have the following message published in the Star, but the web page has changed and I couldn’t find the route.

    “CHARM” Shop Robbery

    On behalf of the Telephone Pioneers, The CHARM shop volunteers, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to The Kansas City Star, and in particular to Mr. Derek Donovan, for their efforts to help our charitable organization. Through their dedication to civic duty they not only highlighted the robbery in the “Star”, they also followed up with news telecasts on KCTV Channel 5 and KSHB Channel 41. The results so far will enable our organization to recover a good portion of the items taken in the robbery. We estimate the replacement costs will be approximately 400% of the original costs. We thank The Kansas City Star and its employees, the TV Stations, and the individuals who contributed money. But above all we thank everyone for helping the kids we serve–that is what it is all about.

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    You’ve probably heard the slogan, “You never have a second chance to make a good impression.”

    The same is true in crisis communications.  When a crisis hits, as it did with United Airlines removing a passenger from a flight, the company had to come out with a strong message.  Unfortunately, it didn’t and today has to figure out how to pick up the pieces from a PR disaster.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t and today has to figure out how to pick up the pieces from a PR disaster.

    We have all seen the videos of a man being forcibly taken off a plane that was overbooked.  The man was bloodied and dragged off the aircraft.

    The company’s CEO Oscar Munoz initially blabbered about re-accommodating a passenger.  He also fired off an internal note to employees commending them for their actions.

    United Airlines

    Both were bad moves.

    The media, and particularly social media and talk shows,  jumped all over the airline for its insensitivity to a Chinese passenger and highlighted how offended the Chinese public was.  The next day it was revealed the passenger was actually Vietnamese and new stories about how offended the Vietnamese were flourished.

    What did United Airlines do wrong with its initial response? It is very likely the company conferred with its legal team and were told everything it did was legal.  While true, the biggest mistake was not addressing the emotional part of the issue.

    The average passenger was thinking “They could have done that to me!!” The guy had paid for a ticket and was waiting for his flight to depart when all hell broke loose.

    Years ago a phone company in Lima, Ohio, issued new phone books.  That’s not exactly “stop the presses kind of news,” but in this case it was.  The phone books contained coupons for various discounts:  pizza, dry cleaning, home goods, etc.

    It also contained a coupon offering $25 off on an abortion!!

    The phone book coupon issue exploded locally and then nationally.  The local Catholic hospital in Lima was beyond upset.  People on both sides of the abortion issue agreed that offering a discount coupon for it was tacky.

    The phone company’s legal team initially was quick to point out it was perfectly legal for the abortion clinic to offer a coupon since abortions were legal.  But the average person did not care if the coupon was legal.  They thought it was tacky and insensitive.

    The company spokesman ignored the legalities of the message and instead profusely apologized to everyone for the offensive coupon. He promised controversial coupons would never find their way into the phone book again.   The message resonated and the furor died down in a few days.

    CEO Munoz blew his initial message, but a day later had developed a new, stronger one. It should have been his initial message.

    “The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened,” noted Munoz.

    After all the facts have come out about the incident some cooler heads have risen over the incident.  However, it will be tough to overcome the initial horrible publicity and a reported $255 million loss in stock value.



    Published April 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm - 2 Comments You’ve probably heard the slogan, “You never have a second chance to make a good impression.” The same is true in crisis communications.  When a crisis hits, as it did with United Airlines removing a passenger ...


    President Donald Trump has a rather unique way of dealing with the news media: He looks on the news media as needing him as much as he needs them.

    This tactic goes against everything media trainers (including us!) have preached for years. We have always stressed to our clients how to effectively work together with media outlets in order to get their message out to the public. We note it is important to provide information that the news media will want to use for a win-win situation.

    However, Trump, as a successful businessman, seems to look at things from a business perspective.  He understands that media conglomerates today operate the same way as Walmart or Exxon. He knows the media needs him for readers/listeners/ eyeballs. That means revenues for their bottom lines.

    He knows the media needs him for readers/listeners/eyeballs. They need him as much as he needs them.

    In years past journalists were heralded as individuals who worked hard to uncover issues and provide an honest examination of news. Yes, there was a business side to the media, but journalists were above the fray. A threat by a company to “pull its advertising” meant virtually nothing.

    That is not the case today.

    Literally thousands of high-quality journalists have been purged in the past decade over budget cuts. Reporters with specific beats such as banking, state government, telecommunications and others with intimate knowledge of those areas have been cut loose to improve media outlets’ bottom lines. It’s not a grand calling.  It’s just business.

    National Public Radio recently listed big digital media companies (LINK) and their myriad of ownerships. Potential conflicts of interest are routine. Verizon owns the Huffington Post which has attacked Trump relentlessly; Walt Disney owns ABC and ESPN; Time Warner owns CNN and TMZ.com; CBS owns book publisher Simon & Shuster.  In the newspaper

    In the newspaper business Forbes reports that 15 billionaires own America’s media outlets. They own them to make money, not necessarily quality journalism.

    With only 6% of the population trusting the news media, according to a recent Associated Press story, Trump’s attacks on the media also resonate with his base.  When he attacks CNN for doing “fake news” the network’s bottom line suffers.

    As an example, during his recent address to Congress Fox News led all coverage with 10.8 million viewers.  CNN came in at a paltry 3.9 million, with MSNBC the lowest among all cable channels at 2.7 million.  These numbers means millions of dollars of lost ad revenues.

    Yes, reporters hate Trump. Press coverage of him during his first 30 days in office was 88% hostile (Link).  But their bosses love the revenues he generates for them.

    It will be interesting to see if coverage of President Trump changes over time as media outlets’ bottom lines are impacted.









    Published March 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm - One Comment President Donald Trump has a rather unique way of dealing with the news media: He looks on the news media as needing him as much as he needs them. This tactic goes against everything media trainers (including us!) have preached f ...


    It has been called “appalling journalism.”

    That might be considered a positive comment regarding an editing trick inserted into a documentary on gun ownership that has come to light.

    Long-time NBC Today Show star and anchor at all three major networks, Katie Couric, now with Yahoo! News, is being severely criticized for highly questionable editing in her documentary titled “Under the Gun” after it was revealed an eight-second pause was inserted to make it look as if the people interviewed could not answer her question (LINK).

    Luckily for the individuals being interviewed, one person was wise enough to record the Q&A (LINK TO AUDIO). Otherwise, questioning the bubbly media icon would have been virtually impossible and fruitless.

    Couric was executive producer, host and narrator of the piece.  Anti-gun activist Stephanie Soechtig produced and directed it.

    In the documentary, a group of Virginia gun owners was asked by Couric: “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

    Not only did Couric/Soechtig insert a pause (8-10 seconds), but they also inserted “B” roll of the gun owners taken before the interview even began.  There is little doubt the editing was clearly designed to make it look as if Couric’s tough question made them speechless and uncomfortable.

    Couric is now calling the edit an “unnecessary mistake,” according to an individual with knowledge of her thinking (LINK).

    In an official statement, Soechtig countered, “my intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

    Couric now says she supports Soechtig’s statement “and am very proud of the film.” However, a few days later she admitted she regretted how she portrayed gun activists (LINK).

    However, the National Review and Washington Post now say Couric should be fired over the deliberate misrepresentation (LINK).

    This is a classic reason why at Bottom Line Communications we strongly advise clients to always record media interviews.  Without actual audio evidence (below) the Yahoo! crew would have denied inserting the pause.

    However, with the evidence journalism takes another huge credibility hit.


    Published May 29, 2016 at 8:30 am - 2 Comments It has been called “appalling journalism.” That might be considered a positive comment regarding an editing trick inserted into a documentary on gun ownership that has come to light. Long-time NBC Today Show star and ...


    In Journalism circles, having a degree from the University of Missouri was often a ticket for success. It is not only the nation’s oldest Journalism school, it is also one of the most prestigious.

    When rankings for the best “J” schools in the nation are posted the University of Missouri is almost guaranteed to be in the Top 10 or Top 5.  However, that may have all changed due to the actions of a single media professor during the recent student uprising at the school.

    A Mass Media Professor, Melissa Click, is shown in a video asking for “muscle” to remove a student photojournalist, Tim Tai,  who was working for ESPN and in a public place.   It is a horrible act by a college professor and shows a total disregard for the Journalist’s First Amendment rights, which is against what the school has taught for decades.

    “Who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here,” says Click.

    A video of Click’s actions against Tai has gone viral and has well over 500,000 views (LINK) on a single site.  The New York Times has written an extensive story about her actions.

    What was once a sympathetic media for the protesters has now changed with the actions of students and faculty against them.

    Technically some have pointed out Click works in the Mass Media Division of the Department of Communications in College of Arts & Sciences, which is separate from the J-school.  However, she is listed on the School of Journalism’s site (LINK), which tars the entire Journalism program whether it deserves it or not.

    Click had earlier Tweeted out that she she was looking for coverage of the event by Journalists.  Later on she is clearly leading the charge against other Journalists with total disregard for their rights to cover the event.

    With the resignation of the school’s President and Chancellor the University of Missouri is clearly being painted as a college where the inmates are running the asylum.   Rather than act like a Professor, Click and other faculty members have clearly shown they were behind the student protests against the administration.

    If the University of Missouri doesn’t hire a crisis communications team immediately its entire image for producing quality Journalism graduates could likely be tarnished forever. If the school was wise it already had a crisis communications plan in place for such an incident, but that is unlikely.

    The first move would be to remove Click. But that would be a stop-gap measure since a faculty member helping foment the disturbance was an indictment on all the faculty.  The school hired her, and whether tacitly or not, approved of her actions.

    A statement issued today by the Dean of the Journalism School denied she was part of the faculty and sounded as if her days as a professor at Missouri were numbered. Click has also been forced to apologize in an attempt to save her job and resigned her “courtesy” appointment to the J-School.

    However, a Kansas City reporter told BLC that the protesters are refusing to speak with local reporters and will only do interviews with national media outlets.  That is the kind of move that will turn sympathetic local media against them now and in the future.

    It’s a bad move.



    Published November 10, 2015 at 10:23 am - 5 Comments In Journalism circles, having a degree from the University of Missouri was often a ticket for success. It is not only the nation’s oldest Journalism school, it is also one of the most prestigious. When rankings for the best ...