Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whitmer reaches the finish line

I would be remiss if I didn't note that longtime Times-Reporter Sports Editor Dave Whitmer is retiring.

Whitmer, who joined the T-R around the same time I did back in the early '70s, quietly went about his job as sports editor by organizing high school coverage every week of every year. That meant assigning reporters and photographers to games, finding freelancers and producing the sports pages that everyone takes for granted.

With 20 high schools in the coverage area, it is a daunting task especially in the spring when there are baseball and softball games, track meets and tennis matches all going on at the same time.

Whitmer also was the organizational wizard behind the annual T-R All-Star Charity Football Game. Dave's mark will be on the 2010 game -- some of the work already is done -- but I suspect that will be his last.

One anecdote...

Back in the '90s as the T-R was preparing to enter the digital age, he came into my office with a question.

"Let me get this straight," he said. "We're going to put our stories on the Internet where everyone can read them for free."

"That's right," I responded.

"But the people who read us in the newspaper will still have to pay for the newspaper."

"Yep, that's right, too."

Dave shook his head and exited. Clearly he didn't understand the strategy of giving away content that was subsidized by subscribers. And he didn't think it was fair.

His questioning, I suppose, was somewhat prophetic. Media bigwigs continue to debate strategy while dismantling the traditional outlets -- print and TV included -- which further diminishes the worth of the product.

I've read all about the current strategies and have yet to settle on any conclusions. Except, of course, that the one embraced in the '90s was wrong.

Anyway, good luck to Dave in his well-deserved retirement.

* * *

If you're in management and occasionally send memos by e-mail, do me a favor. Never, ever start the memo with this:


All? What the heck does that mean? All? What, you have a bunch of robots working for you?

How about, "Dear Valued Employees:"


"Hi, folks."


"To my colleagues in the trenches:"

Anything, but "All:"

It's corporate-speak and usually whatever follows is bad news.

* * *

The Daily Beast recently listed the best and worst states, including the District of Columbia, for job growth.

Ohio finished 50th, in front of only one state -- Michigan.

Forbes magazine also declared recently that Cleveland was the most miserable city in the country. Forbes said Cleveland took the top spot "thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams (Cavaliers of the NBA excepted)."

It's no wonder we have an inferiority complex. Hold your head up, Ohio. The snow will melt soon. Guaranteed.

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