December 13th, 2012
Mi-Ai Parrish

Kansas City Star President and Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish has issued a strongly worded memo to employees today denying that any employees at the McClatchy-owned paper were forced to decide among themselves whether they would be laid off or not.

Her memo was in response to numerous reports circulating across the country via social media that veteran reporters Karen Dillon and Dawn Bormann were told to select among themselves who would be laid off during the newspaper’s most recently layoff involving 17 employees. Parrish says that is not true.



MEMO TO: Co-Workers

FROM: Mi-Ai Parrish

“Some of you may have seen online reports regarding the recent layoffs at The Star,” wrote Parrish.  “We want to be clear that we did not ask our employees to work out any decisions amongst themselves.”

“As most of you know,” said Parrish, “the Star has tried to make voluntary options available on many occasions when it has been necessary to make reductions in our workplace, in order to lessen the impact of involuntary eliminations.

“In fact, the feedback we’ve received from employees has been overwhelmingly in favor of making the voluntary option available.  For this particular severance program. for any group of two or more employees in which a reduction is to occur we did offer the voluntary option.  However, if there are no volunteers, as is our practice, the employee with the least tenure will be included in the reduction.  This program was clearly communicated to those employees affected by the severance program.

“We find it unfortunate the way the situation has been portrayed, and we are very sorry for the impact on the employees involved.  We will continue to work with all employees affected by this severance program to help them transition through this difficult time made even more difficult by the misinformation being reported.” 




17 Responses

  1. Oinky says:

    Damage control is so pathetic, especially the “lipstick on a pig” variety. I’ll bet she find it unfortunate – people being unmasked as incompetent usually do.

  2. Art says:

    Paint it anyway you want, honey: you can say “what happened didn’t happen,” but by all accounts it’s happened: you’re asking one reporter to choose the fate of another.

    Fannin’s fireside chats were particularly galling today.

    The entire staff has lost confidence in this Dynamic Duo of Dysfunction.

  3. David Remley says:

    It all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

  4. Brian says:

    Why did it take this long for a response? This story has been hanging out there for two days. Oh, wait, these are the people in print journalism.

  5. Dennis says:

    Sounds like John may have started a rumor that is not exactly the way it seems

  6. Paul says:

    I got to agree with the last commenter. John ran with a story that turns out wasn’t true. Pretty standard stuff. He wants to write a negative story, hears some negative gossip that feeds into his preconceived notions, and writes a negative story.

    That’s not journalism. That’s a sowing circle.

    • JohnLandsberg says:

      It is pretty obvious to those following this story that the Publisher’s memo is an attempt to take lemons and make lemonade.
      Karen Dillon is quoted on a national media blog saying, “we’ve not made an official decision” on who gets to stay. “It’s one of the most difficult situations I’ve ever faced.”

  7. Patty says:

    This damage control is pathetic indeed. In one breath she is denying that it is true and in the very next she is justifying it by saying that the employees are just THRILLED with the process of participating in the Hunger Games. I think that SHE, and all involved in this should be fired.

  8. Dickeylee says:

    Hang in there John! Anybody have a compiled list of all the byline employees booted in the last 3-4 years? I’m thinking a LOT of empty cubicles on Grand…

  9. Tom says:

    The real story here is that the person who doesn’t get sacked this time will in a few months anyway. At least it gives them a couple of months to look for another job while still employed. Disgusting!

  10. Karl Kelly says:

    Here’s a problem with the memo that seems to have escaped notice: If the person with the “least tenure” is the one whose neck is on the chopping block, why would any young, talented person take a job with the Kansas City Star?

    And reading this memo, it seems that Parrish and the “decision makers” certainly DID pit employee against employee and decide among themselves who should go.

    After all, it seems that everyone knew who the axe would fall on, and the only way to change that would be for someone else to take the wonderful, “voluntary” option.

  11. Guy With A List says:


    I think I can develop a list from available sources. John, would you like to see it?

    Please reply in comments.

  12. Scott Simon says:

    This publisher has no business in the position she holds. She clearly has demonstrated she does not have the backbone to lead a large city daily newspaper.

  13. Me says:


    The new requirement to purchase a subscription to view their online content will be the final nail in the Star’s coffin. I’ve already removed the bookmark and am going elsewhere for my information.

    McClatchy sucks as a company…sad that they own the Star because this city’s paper doesn’t deserve all the mismanagement and negativity that Mc brings to the table.

  14. dreambig says:

    I agree with many of the previous comments. I would like to add that McClatchy practice to eliminate jobs are unethical and unfair. The Publisher mentioned in her response, “employee with the least tenure will be included in the reduction”….this is very interesting when a person with less tenure was saved by placing him in a different group. A job posting was created but then closed immediately!!!! Not giving others an opportunity to apply for the position. Why? Politics. This job was created for “This Person” who should have received the severence package due to his tenure with the company. This company continues to take and take from its employees without giving anything back. When will enough be enough!!!

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