Alex Taylor: The Timeline
Alex Taylor is leaving the Palm Beach Post after just about eight months on the job. The following is a timeline of coverage on the publisher's short stay in South Florida.
-- December 8, 2008: It's announced that Doug Franklin is vacating his short but awful bloody stint as publisher and that Alex Taylor, from the Colorado Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, is taking over. We learn he is a member of what one commenter calls the "Lucky Sperm Club," in that he is in the Cox family and heir apparent to someday run the company.
February 5, 2009: Taylor high-fives his staff via a corporate memo that includes his first mention of the "elevator speech" he wants Palm Beach Post employees to give to outsiders about the newspaper. The memo included such Lee Abrams-esque lines as "We are going to have to start doing new things and stop doing old things" and "To change our destiny, we need Different Thinking which will lead to Different Actions and Different Results."
April 8, 2009: The Post goes through a management shakeup that sees Tim Burke elevated to the position of executive editor and "vice president for audience development." Taylor says of Burke, "Tim will be working on restructuring the way we produce products to create an intense customer focus that results in products that are more resilient and adaptive to our changing readers."
July 7, 2009: The Pulp reports that another management shakeup is coming and that layoffs are expected, including six in management posts. Everyone must reapply for his or her own job, and at the end of the day, there will be a new set of managers and beats. Those who aren't named on the final list will lose their jobs.
July 9, 2009: Taylor informs staff that they are all to undergo "customer care training." His email includes this classic excerpt:
If someone says to you "I hear things down at the Post are tough. How are you doing?" You could say, "Yeah it stinks, no one knows what's happening," (not good) or you could say "It's a fascinating time to be in the business. Things are changing quickly and dramatically and I think it's exciting to be on the leading edge of how media is evolving," (good, positive). Two ways of looking at the same thing, but one is just a lot more uplifting.
July 15, 2009: Taylor announces in a memo that more layoffs are coming. It doesn't strike a very good, positive tone. "We came into this year hoping to avoid them, but after 2 quarters of sobering reality that this year has been even worse than last year, we find ourselves going through some layoffs -- with some more still ahead," he writes. "This is a painful, difficult process no matter where you are, but after the extensive cut backs of last year, it's even more of an open wound here at Palm Beach Newspapers."
August 14, 2009: We learn who the new managers are, as one Pulp commenter likens the process to "musical chairs with livelihoods on the line."
August 19: The Post reports that Taylor is leaving the newspaper to oversee operations in Ohio and Louisville. "The local business community and the Post have gone through some very tough times during this recession, but I am now confident that far better days are ahead," he is quoted as saying in the story, which goes on to tell readers that the company is "introducing a structure that strengthens its digital offerings, encourages collaboration across different types of media, and creates additional operational efficiencies."
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