One measure of how far newspapers in general and McClatchy newspapers in particular have fallen is a mock newspaper front page (image below the fold) created by workers at the Raleigh News & Oberver making fun of their McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt (photo). Pruitt, who went on a disastrous spending spree a few years ago buying up doomed newspapers, including the Miami Herald, is widely credited for bringing McClatchy newspapers to the brink of financial collapse.
This issue of the mock News & Observer front page was published in honor of the 31 employees who were released from their jobs yesterday. The publication was professionally produced and features a photo of many of the released employees waving goodbye from the roof of the News & Obrserver.
The headline of the mock front page states: "We'll get off at this next port, please."
Below, the subhead continues the thought: "But Do Enjoy The Rest Of The Voyage---Mind The Icebergs."
The story below, written by "I. Ben Whacked, Pinkslip Staff Writer," continues with the nautical imagery, including a thorough mocking of "Captain Gary" Pruitt:
The RMS McClatchy was a top-of-the-line ship, owned by the White Star line and built in a shipyard in Calif.
During the golden years of newspapers, the White Star Line owned many profitable steamships that docked at wealthy and growing homeports along the Pacific and Atlantic.
Now comes the specific mocking of "Capt. Gary" Pruitt:
Yet Capt. Gary, the golden boy of the White Star Line wanted a bigger ship. He wanted one big enough to ferry a fleet of corporate jets. He wanted one big enough to make Mick Jagger envious. He wanted one big enough to float $3 billion in debt.
So he commissioned the RMS McClatchy.
"I. Ben Whacked" made sure to include allusions to the disastrous purchase by "Capt. Gary" of the Miami Herald:
The RMS McClatchy was one of the largest newspaper steamships in the world. She was welded together from the hulls of several old steamships, including a leaky tub called the RMS Knight Ridder that hailed from the chaotic port of Miami.
"We're bullish on old tubs," Capt. Gary said, flashing his boyish million-dollar-bonus smile.
...Capt. Gary said the newspaper steamship was unsinkable despite the heavy cargo of debt she would be hauling.
"Well be OK as long as the ocean has no waves," he said.
The story continues on in this vein until the RMS McClatchy hits an iceberg:
As the ship began to sink, Capt. Gary asked for volunteers who would like to go for a swim and then extended the plank.
The rest of the front page is composed of humorous tidbits such as this observation:
Wednesday is Earth Day. We'll reduce our carbon footprint by not driving to work.
Other humorous bits on that mock front page include "The Bright Side Of Being Laid Off" and "Plan B: Top Ways To Earn Money."
To continue with the nautical theme of the main story, your humble correspondent suggests that when the crew of the RMS McClatchy is in open mutiny, perhaps it is time for Capt. Gary to abandon ship.
Oh, and where does one get a hard copy of this mock front page of the News & Oberver? It definitely has value as a souvenir of the time when the newspapers were collapsing.
H/T: McClatchy Watch
UPDATE: CEO Gary Pruitt has just announced his retirement. Unfortunately for McClatchy employees, it is not their Gary Pruitt.