It began with a February 5 memo from Earl Maucker that was posted on Romenesko. The Sun-Sentinel editor was looking for newsroom employees willing to take early retirements. Now it's official, say sources: Eighteen Sentinel vets have taken the offer.
The program has been kept very secretive, even inside the newsroom. Often coworkers don't know who is leaving until the a goodbye cake comes around. That's right, these long-timers, some of them with 30 years or more at the newspaper, are all getting the same sendoff: Cake.
No farewell bash. No gold watch. No mention in the newspaper of their service. Just a baked good.
The offer was made available to people who were 55 or older with at least a decade logged at the Sentinel. The takers received two weeks pay for every year worked, with a maximum of a year's salary payout (representing 26 years at the company). The money isn't paid out as a lump sum, but in the form of a biweekly check spread out over the next year.
Here's the list of the journos who are leaving (or who have already left) the newspaper:
1. Nancy McVicar, Help Team 2. Jeanne Jordan, night news editor/front page 3. Margo Harakas, veteran feature writer 4. Tim Dodson, editorial board 5. Jim Sarni, sports writer/editor 6. John Chace, community news editor 7. Buddy Nevins, reporter/former longtime political columnist 8. Bill Hirschman, reporter, social services and education 9. Nick Von Staden, photographer 10. Dick Jones, night production editor 11. Vicki Preuss, editorial page administrator 12. John Dolen, entertainment editor 13. Bonnie DiPacio, sports department administrator 14. Van Gosselin, research department 15. Henry Wright, copy editor 16. Richard Carr, copy editor 17. Chris Allen, editorial 18. Mary Lou Pessoa,technology
None of us will ever know how much effort and sweat these folks put into that newspaper and others. Cheers to all of them.