Archive for the ‘Gazette’ Category

A Belgian “information designer” has offered some thoughtful criticism of my Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection.

I will address some details of the criticism from Stijn Debrouwere, who writes that he is visiting my former company, Gazette Communications, and read C3 as preparation. First, though, I want to thoroughly agree with Debrouwere’s primary point, that “Steve’s work does feel very much like it’s only halfway there.” (more…)

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Looking back over the past year or so, in many ways it was the most frustrating, disappointing period of my career. I normally would avoid looking back on it at all. I am a positive person and have been looking forward to a new job that has taken me out of the newspaper business.

But I sort of had to look back, mostly in surprise, when I learned in January that Editor & Publisher magazine, which boasts that it is “America’s oldest journal covering the newspaper industry,” was naming me Editor of the Year. The magazine announcing the honor arrives in newspaper offices this week, the week after I left the industry.

A year before I received the news, I was preparing to do two of the most difficult things of my career: (more…)

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Today was my last day at Gazette Communications. Tomorrow morning Mimi and I will start our drive to Virginia, weather permitting, for my new adventure with Allbritton Communications.

This will be the fourth time I’ve bid farewell to Iowa. This state will always be special to me. I’ve spent more than 14 years working for three different newspapers in Iowa, and spent a lot of time over here in the 10 years I worked for the Omaha World-Herald.

I will cherish many memories of my time at the Gaz. All the best to the many colleagues, supporters and even critics I encountered during my time in Eastern Iowa.


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As one who is leaving the newspaper business for a digital startup, it pains me just a bit to write this blog post. As one who spent 38 years in the newspaper business (starting in high school, so I’m not as old as that may sound) and wishes my print colleagues nothing but the best, I am mostly quite pleased to tell this story:

Mimi and I signed a deal Thursday to sell our condo after just three days on the market. And it was an ad in Tuesday’s Gazette that brought the buyer to us. (more…)

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I wasn’t going to blog about last night’s spelling bee. But a colleague nudged me, so I will briefly tell our tale of woe.

I was one of three Gazette participants in last night’s spelling bee to raise money for the Catherine McAuley Center. Eleven teams of adults matched our spelling (and speaking) abilities against each other in a spelling bee mercifully not shown on ESPN.

The Gazette team, winners last year (before I showed up; coincidense?), failed to defend our championship. We also looked pretty ridiculous, wearing paper carrier sacks and pressmen’s hats folded out of newspapers. (more…)

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I’m sure my new job title sounds like a gimmick to most people. Actually, it’s kind of a wiki.

When Chuck Peters announced my new title in February as information content conductor, it attracted some curiosity and scorn (as well as some praise). I explained it on three levels: musical, railroad and electrical.

As I’ve continued to explain it to curious people, they have added deeper meaning on all three levels:

  • Someone I unfortunately can’t recall (remind me if that’s you and I will credit) noted that in addition to my explanation that a musical conductor orchestrates the work of creative people, the conductor assigns them to roles such as first chair and second chair. The orchestration is not just rehearsing and waving a baton. It’s evaluating abilities and assigning roles.
  • Someone else (unfortunately, I’m only one for three in the credit department today) elaborated on my railroad explanation, which was that the conductor interacts with the public to give them an orderly and satisfying experience. This other person noted that a conductor helps people get where they want to go. In the often-confusing digital world, that may be the most important role.
  • Finally, I can give credit for the third way that others have enhanced my insights about my new title and role. After Chuck made a presentation on our new C3 concept and plans, he got an email from Dan Rogers, CEO of AdTrack. Rogers wrote: “When I first read about Steve Buttry’s new title, I understood the analogy of conducting an  orchestra.  But I also thought it was just as appropriate to think of Steve as a conductor of electricity such as copper or silver. Part of Steve’s job is to move electrons around in a way that makes sense, and to do it with as little friction and heat as possible — the critical elements of a good conductor.”

Again, I appreciate the insights that others offer to a job I am still working to understand and explain. And it’s entirely appropriate that that job and the explanation of it are becoming a wiki.

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I hope you’ll pardon some boasting as I note that The Gazette today won the 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Award.

Our coverage of the floods of 2008 won the deadline reporting award for newspapers under 100,000 circulation.

This continues a terrific run of recognition for our outstanding staff, which has previously won awards for our flood coverage from the Inland Press Association, National Press Photographers Association, Iowa Newspaper Association and Iowa Associated Press Managing Editors (and maybe something that I forgot).

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