Thursday, August 04, 2005

LET FREEDOM RING!! GANNETT IS OUT THE DOOR

I stood in a packed Detroit News news room Wednesday and watched fear shift to delight among fellow journalists.
Gannett was out the door.
Women I did not know said "can I get one? after I hugged one of my buddies. And yes I gladly hugged them.
Gannett was out the door.
We joked that no one walked around in shackles and hand cuffs, that journalists may actually use their talent and instinct to make The Detroit News better.
Gannett was out the door.
People embraced the name Media News although they did not know what the future brings. Hell, some did not even know what Media New was, but it remained a welcomed change.
Gannett was out the door.
We felt free. We felt like journalists again. We smiled and hugged and talked about wild and crazy story ideas we thought might benefit Detroit and the state of Michigan.
Gannett was out the door and I let out a roar.
Free at Last!
Free at Last!
I cannot believe we are free at last!!
I do not know the path the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press will take after Gannett bought the Freep from Knight-Ridder and sold the News to Denver based News Media Group. But at least I might have a future.
I feel that I can revive my career that is in shambles. I feel that I will get the opportunity to write again. And I hold out hope I can make a difference in my city again. I want to impact my home town the way I used to.
I want to make people react and protest and laugh and move them to make changes in their lives.
It is what I used to do here until handcuffs, both imaginary and real, were placed on my wrists.
When David J. Butler, the new editor of the News said "we don't do cookie cutter stories" I wanted to hug the man.
People. I want to return to the profession I loved. I want to write again instead of having my ideals rejected because they do not fit cute packages or graphics or people first formulas.
I am going to admit something painful. I can no longer write under deadline. It used to be my strength. It is like discovering your right arm is missing. I went home upset and angry after covering the Major League Baseball All-Star game because I panicked during deadline.
I used to thrive under deadline pressure. But my opportunities to write on deadline were so limited that I forgot how.
I am 24-year veteran in this business and that is embarrassing.
Gannett took away my column and called it a promotion.
It took it away because it said few read it. At the time I was deleting e-mail from readers because the volume was so great I knew I could not answer each one.
I fear Wednesday's sale was all a bad joke and that the monsters of Gannett will march back in the Detroit News and say "We were just fooling. It is time to return to the torture chamber."
My hope is Gannett allows the Freep to remain the Freep. It carved out a nice identity by being different than the News. It should remain that way.
Well guys. I am going to celebrate today.
I feel 50 pounds lighter and for the first time in two years I feel a ray of sunshine has hit my life. Gannett is out the door.

24 Comments:

Blogger PERALES said...

Truth,

The News is one of the poorest papers in America. I think it's been useless for the past 5 years but I'm only 25 so it could have been terrible for longer than I remember.

I know that you claim to write for the news but I only see your stories about once a month. I hope your new management will allow the real T-Fos to shine through and enlighten us with the truth. You're the Spirit of Detroit and it's time that you start writing like it.

I can't wait to read your first unshackeled column. I hope you get a lot of attention and wipe Mitch out of the picture. Don't you think he's a complete wuss?

7:22 AM

 
Blogger Kevaxe2k2 said...

Couldn't be happier for you, T! Miss your columns and HOPE to see you back in print very soon.

7:41 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

We all know of the image problems and insecurities that have plagued Detroit for far too many years, but one of the most visable ways we have become a 'minor-league' city over the years is the daily newspapers. Stack the sNews and the Freep up against newspapers from any other major city in this country and you'll get my drift.

It is easy to feel the enthusiasm in your post T - I hope to once again read that emotion under a daily masthead very soon.....or... Do I smell the return of "Inside the Game"....?

Congrats and best wishes.

7:44 AM

 
Anonymous jeremy said...

Terry, I hope this does mean good things for you and your friends at the News. I have a friend who writes for one of those local community zone papers. I haven't had a chance to speak with her yet, but I think she'll be happy with the move too.

I think you can really tell how the two papers took the news by their own coverage of it. Freep has little coverage (nothing about Hutton leaving) while the News has massive coverage. That is telling to me.

I fear for the Free Press. But in the end, it's my guess that this will make newspapers in detroit better.

8:15 AM

 
Blogger The_Real_Right_Way said...

Terry,

I wish you all the best in terms of being able to do the things you miss with regard to journalism. I hope this change provides something for you and the public that we sorely need, "an objective view and voice."

Unfortunately, the continued consolidation of media is killing our democracy. These large conglomerates such as the Media News Group seemingly have no interest in objectivity. In fact, there is strong evidence that they censor stories to insure that their efforts to further consolidate media are not squelched by those in power.

To me this is very scary. Probably even more so for journalist like yourself that want to speak the, "Truth"

This truly desturbs me as the cookie cutter approach becomes the economic preference for these large conglomerants. Not only that, but a monolithic culture also prevails and those that don't agree are quickly silenced and eliminated from these organizations.

I hope and pray that a person such as yourself has the opportunity to do the work that the public needs. We need someone that can offer an uncensored, objective view on issues that are important to us.

May the Lord provide you and us that in this situation.

8:40 AM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

Thank you Perales,
I want a voice in this community. I don't know if it will happen. But I am hopeful. As far as Mitch being a wuss he does things his way and it has worked. I think every columnist has a different approach and there is nothing wrong with that.

9:06 AM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

dt,
I dont think we will see inside the game although it was the most popular thing I have done in my journalism career. The response from it surprised me but the editors said they were looking for something to stimulate readers. I dont think the replacement is stimulating folks.

9:08 AM

 
Blogger dt said...

trrw -

"...the continued consolidation of media is killing our democracy."

Amen, my man.

And the only thing most scary than that is how few people realize this or even seem to care.

9:27 AM

 
Blogger billionaire said...

Clerical Issue
You can thank the FCC and the weak democrats for what';s happening now. Republicans have treated the dems like tricks. Until the dems can attain balance against republicans things will continue to erode. For example a Republican President but a dems congress or vice versa.Watch out for Rupert Murdoch

Freep did seem have more content and more adept with the web as well. Terry will you continue the best sports show in town and this blog if you get your columns back. Also I wonder if you ever explored writing a book. It just seems the newspaper puts you in a box

9:45 AM

 
Anonymous sportsfromA2 said...

I'm so confused- Isn't the Detroit News already a morning newspaper?

I've been a long-time News Reader/subscriber, an we've gotten it in the morning for as long as I can remember.


Anyways Terry, good luck with the new bosses- if you want us to bombard them with "bring terry back" e-mails, let us know how we can help.

I thought I heard these NewsMedia people were kown for cost-cutting. I also heard on the Fox 2 news last night (and might be all speculation), but the News might turn into a Tabloid-style newspaper?

9:56 AM

 
Anonymous jeremy said...

Sportsforma2: Yeah, it can be confusing. There is a morning edition that is put at newsstands, but most people who get it delivered to their home, it comes in the afternoon. That edition is called the “final edition.” The free presses final edition comes in the morning. But that’s pretty crazy you get a morning edition. I would suspect you live near a printing plant or something.

Terry: Yeah, we got your back. I’ll send an e-mail to remind the new bosses of the talented column writer Detroit has that the news has backed away from if you want us to . . .

10:57 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terry,

If they bring your column back, I'll order five subscriptions.

Andy

11:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terry, congratulations. And my special admiration for being so forthright about your own struggles under Gannett.

I've been writing professionally for 19 years, so I think I know your perspective. There's a point where money becomes more plentiful than challenges. Giving people what they want is easy, and one or two of the old tricks are enough to make the right folks gush. But you remember the old passion, the times when even a small assignment mattered and it was the greatest thing in your life, so now you're a little ashamed. You put extra pressure on yourself, because no one else does. And you wonder -- deep down you wonder -- just how much of that fastball you have left.

Well, I think you've still got your fastball. Here's hoping that your new team gives you a chance to show it.

12:27 PM

 
Anonymous Brian said...

You go T! I can't wait to read your articles again. You have a lot of support from many readers. Good luck!

1:11 PM

 
Anonymous DetroitTitanFan said...

T- does the change at the News offer hope that we will get more/better coverage of our local colleges?

1:39 PM

 
Blogger Ian C. said...

Terry, I hope this gets you back in the paper regularly, because I sorely miss your column (though I get my fix through this blog, and would love to see it continue).

And I hope this new deal gives Detroit the two viable, thriving newspapers it deserves.

2:35 PM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

billionare,
I will continue to write a web log if I get my column back. But the web log might move to a Sports Inferno web site. If that happens I will let you know. I am also working on a book. We are still ironing out details but I am hopeful it will hit the book stands by Fathers Day 2006

3:57 PM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

sportsforma,
I do expect some cost cutting. But how is that different than what Gannett did to us? They bled us dry and diminished the quality of the newspaper.
The News is technically a pm paper. You cannot get morning home deliver alhtough you can pick it up at the newsstands in the morning.

3:58 PM

 
Blogger T Foster said...

I dont think we are going to get improved college coverage after the deal is done. I am sorry to report that.

4:00 PM

 
Anonymous sportsfromA2 said...

I had no idea of what Gannett did to you all, but I just never like the terms "cost cutting" because that almost always means people losing their jobs.

I've been getting the Detroit news delivered for at least 10 years, it has always been there in the morning, reading the news is kind of a ritual for me. I remember getting the blackout paper 2 years ago, it was pretty amazing how they were able to do that.

Maybe because I'm in A2 (Ann Arbor), so since we're not in "metro detroit" (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb) they're allowed to deliver the paper to us ion the morning? The Ann Arbor News on weekdays is an afternoon paper, so maybe thats why the News comes in the mornings here?

Maybe the detroit newspapers will realize there's more to ann arbor/washtenaw county then Michigan Football? Its funny how in the "local" or "metro" sections washtenaw is left out (we're clumped in the "around the state" crap), but they get quite a bit of attention in the sports sections. If the newspapers just covered Wayne/Oakland, I would understand, but if they include Macomb County they should also include Washtenaw. Just my opinion, though.

4:52 PM

 
Anonymous Brent said...

I really miss Terry's column. This weblog comes close, but it's not the same. I hope he gets it back.

I also hope those lame Q&A articles coming out of the Sports department end. The DetNews sportswriters (except R.P.) are talented enough to relay the same information in an article.

6:54 PM

 
Blogger Black Man said...

Maybe now we will get some real reporting of what's really happening on the streets of Detroit and not some sugar coated fantasy.

7:27 PM

 
Blogger billionaire said...

Clerical Issue
Terry you have got to see QUITE FRANKLY. This role was made for Stephen A Smith. Do television journalist have ethics. Check the Derrick Lowe story in La

Black man I agree. I feel that both news papers uses way too many AP stories. Which is probably another reason why circulation is way down because to many other we sites carry AP stories as well.

8:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pitt community college

6:43 AM

 

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