Tuesday, April 15, 2008

B.S. from G.D.

This may sound a little defensive, but hell, it's my blog.

You may read a post on G.D. Gearino's blog about a question I was asked in the Raleigh newsroom last week. (Thankfully, the Romenesko link was busted when I tried, but I suppose it will get fixed).

Some of what he writes is actually true. He quoted "several different N&O journalists who attended the meeting, and their accounts all matched up" and he's right about the fact that Joe Neff asked, in the context of expense cuts, why I had stayed at the Umstead, which he described as "one of North Carolina's most expense resorts and spas."

I told Joe I'd paid $210 a night. In a follow-up email, I also mentioned that I had checked prices before coming to Raleigh, and the downtown Sheraton where I usually stay quoted us $179. Since I spent most of the day at McClatchy Interactive, which has offices closer to the Umstead, I'd have spent more than the difference on cab fare traveling back and forth from downtown.

I stay at hotels with negotiated rates approved for use by all traveling McClatchy employees by our Shared Services division. (I'm at the Hilton Garden Inn in Washington as I write this).

Gearino ends with a cheap shot: "Cost-cutting is only for the little people." You know better than this, Dan. Why didn't you ask me?


  1. Anonymous5:51 PM

    what's wrong with a Motel 8? a bed is a bed and as travel budgets for actual reporting is slashed to zero, isn't time for some role modeling and example setting?

    just asking

  2. Anonymous8:10 PM

    I just checked on Expedia: 53 different Raleigh hotels available tomorrow night, under $100. If any of us traveled to Raleigh and spent $200 a night on a room, imagine the hell we would suffer. Hypocrisy.

  3. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Well, OK, the populist in me would love to jump up and bash the big bad Corp guy. But you know, Corp did get rid of the jets and the cars and *ahem* that office in San Jose with the 53" TVs and Aeron chairs... so proportionally they are cutting too.

    Corporate offices and people with Really Important Titles *always* get a little more luxury and I think that's OK ("rank has its privileges").

    I could do without the insane bonuses tho, while it may be "what everyone else does" it's bad form. (There, HA, I got to get one in!)

  4. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Howard, you really should know better than this. If it were politicians or Big Bad Evil Wall Street types you'd be all over it in the editorial pages. Appearance does matter. So does $200 that could be spent on reporting a news story or saving someone's job.

  5. Anonymous7:41 AM

    Should a journalist be "thankful" when a link goes down? Should a blogging editor rip someone else's post and not provide a link? http://www.gearino.com/

  6. Anonymous1:07 PM

    I think this whole thing is ridiculous. Hypocrisy? Please. I'll pay the extra $30 over the N&O-endorsed visitor hotel to have him come see us anytime. I work at the N&O and am one that's not crying foul. What IS bad form here is calling out a company executive that is out in the field trying to keep everyone's eye on the ball and how to think differently about our business moving forward.

    How about trying a "thanks for taking the time to visit us" message. I will remember his visit for just that. It's sad to think that some will wrongly recall his visit as one of overindulgence and won't mention it was all over 30 bucks in expense.

    Go find a real story Joe. You've now cost the company way more than $30 on this lousy scoop.

  7. Anonymous5:55 PM

    I for one was grateful to listen to Howard speak to us at the MI Staff meeting and quite honestly think it is ridiculous that someone would suggest he stay at the Motel 8. Obviously there are a lot of bitter people out there who have to remain anonymous in order to get their point across.

  8. Anonymous12:02 PM

    First, I also work at the N&O. Second, I love working there. Third, I have experience working directly with executives at several companies. Fourth, I'm not a newsroom employee. Here's the deal:

    People don't like B.S. and Mr. Weaver has plenty of it. When it comes to belt tightening, the ones that call the shots aren't included. He wants us to think $210 is a 'budget conscious' place to spend a night.

    WRONG. It's the wrong message to send an organization. If we submit $210/night hotel expenses we get dragged into an office to get ripped a new ass. But this Mr. Weaver is different. No one EVER questions his expenditures. Except the people at the bottom.

    His executive status buys him exemption from Finance Department oversight because of his huge expense account.

    Fact is, amidst the political hating and booty-puckering, this issue is OPENLY DISCUSSED by employees in many departments. NEGATIVELY.

    The way employees see Weaver right now, is this way:

    He's asking us to trim expenses, so his bonus will be bigger.


    So while 30 people seem to now do the work of 75, 'Mr. Caviar' wants us to do it for less, so his family can eat better.

    If he'd stayed at a Motel 8, his reception wouldn't have been negative by the employees... And this blog wouldn't have been necessary.

    Take note... Mr. Caviar. You're not just being watched by them politicking tap dancers in the newsroom. The rest of us watch too.

  9. Anonymous #5: You're right about the link; apologies. I added one to the latest post.