TKC MUST READ!!! DEAD TREE MEDIA FAVOR TRADING THEORY: THE POLITICS OF JOURNALISM EXPLAINED AS HOOPZ ABANDONS KANSAS CITY STAR!!!
Here's a genius Kansas City think piece recently sent our way which considers what could be a series of journalism favors as a local favorite leaves town to start a new career away from the declining daily local newspaper . . .
The Star's Jeneé Osterheldt Is Named A Harvard Nieman Fellow
When you see something that is obviously out-of-place, do you quickly dismiss it, or do you take note and search for an answer?
There's a story here, and it's not what most people are thinking. The story waiting to be told, is how in the world was Jenee Osterheldt of The Kansas City Star seriously considered and ultimately selected for this program? Ms. Osterheldt is so out of place in this group that she sticks out like a sore thumb. So, there must be an interesting story to explain her presence among the Nieman Fellows. I think it goes something like this:
Jenee Osterheldt is undoubtedly a lightweight when it comes to journalism. I mean, if you're a "lifestyle" writer for The Kansas City Star, primarily concerned with Cowtown fashion, drinks, entertainment, and retelling episodes of Girl's Night Out with your friends, you're not exactly broaching serious subjects up for debate. However, Ms. Osterheldt is an attractive young woman, and she can play the role of societal victim for those liberals in search of another soul to redeem.
As you know, The Kansas City Star is a holding of the McClatchy company which is struggling mightily to survive. They just reported another quarterly loss within the last week. The Kansas City Star continues to axe employees and announced the departure of another 30 people just days ago. To be a surviving Star employee must be a stressful experience, especially for those who can accurately assess their mediocre talent level.
I suspect an older, wiser Star employee took Ms. Osterheldt aside sometime last year and gave her the news that her days were likely numbered, and that she needed to take proactive measures to save her hide. Ms. Osterheldt's mentor made a number of phone calls on her behalf, inquiring about any rescue parachutes available for this pretty little woman-child who was about to take a freefall. A glimmer of hope was found through a local Kansas City connection.
If you watched the July 14 episode of Ruckus, did you notice that the opening guest interview was one David Von Drehle, Editor-at-Large, Time Magazine?
Did you wonder why this Kansas City-metro resident, who's unknown to the vast majority of residents, had been invited on Ruckus when he had nothing to say? Was it a "thank you" acknowledgment, arranged for doing a friend a favor?
Mr. Von Drehle is acquainted with one James Geary, a former Europe editor at Time, and the Deputy Curator for the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. BINGO!!
Now, while we're not privy to the personal peccadilloes of those involved, it could also be something more along the lines of an exchange of favors. Would Ms. Osterheldt look favorably toward a man who went out on a limb to get her into a program which could launch her toward a real journalism career away from the sinking Star? We don't know the answer to that question, but we're also not so naive to believe that attractive young women never use their desirability to climb up the ladder.