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Register editor: ‘content coach’

9/10/2014

[Cityview’s Civic Skinny column on Sept. 3 about changes in the newsroom at The Des Moines Register] contains several errors…. In terms of the process, decisions will NOT be made by me, another Gannett editor and an HR representative. The interviews will be conducted by a team made up of a local editor (of which I am one), a visiting editor from another Gannett site and an HR representative from another site. But the interview is just one piece of the process, and ALL decisions will be made by me, Publisher Rick Green and General Manager Julie Harvey. The interviews are guidance and one piece of a larger decision-making process.

In addition, there is no job called a “content mentor.” There is a content coach, so perhaps that’s what you were referencing. Employees have been provided job descriptions for those positions, so they do have some understanding of what they entail.

It’s also incorrect to say nothing has been put in writing. I have held three staff meetings, the most recent as soon as we got information on when the restructuring would occur, and presented the timeline, positions and process in writing at that meeting.

We have pledged to be as transparent as possible through this process and will continue to be — through staff meetings, emails and the many one-on-one meetings I’ve had with staff members.

Amalie Nash
Editor and vice president – audience engagement
The Des Moines Register

Editor’s note:  Civic Skinny misspelled “Amalie” and referred to her as vice president of reader engagement, not audience engagement. We apologize.

HIV

Long live The Des Moines Register!

In response to the letter of Sept. 3, “Someone please buy The Des Moines Register!” If you would lay the Chicago Tribune and The Omaha World Herald beside The Des Moines Register, no one could tell the difference. Des Moines and central Iowa are thankful that The Des Moines Register has leadership like Kathy Bolton, assistant managing editor, who has survived the closings of many newspapers both large and small. Today the Register is even better than it was a year ago. Few newspapers can compare with their pre-eminent reporters like George Mills, Walt Shotwell and Elizabeth Clarkson Swartz, all of whom received outstanding awards along with many other reporters. The Register does an outstanding job in investigation, which no TV station could, such as the recent investigation concerning driver’s education teachers who have poor driving records. Yes, the circulation of the Register, like all newspapers, is down because of “online” reporting. But as long as there is a city of Des Moines, The Des Moines Register will be at our doorsteps.

Gerald LaBlanc
–Des Moines

Best-run government?

When there is little or no hope of success over extended time, the human spirit often fails to challenge.

Civic Skinny (Sept. 4) correctly reports that one political party has had the majority in Polk County elected offices for 60 consecutive years (with at least the next four guaranteed). The article suggests “That’s not a bad thing, just a thing,” and “virtually every department is peopled by folks — sometimes second- or third-generation county workers — beholden to and loyal to” that party.

Apparently Joe Grandenette is the only Polk County Democrat who can’t get elected. Maybe Mr. G should switch parties and run for a Polk County office. Few of the Republicans seem willing to be up to the challenge.

Civic Skinny’s statement that “Polk County is probably one of the best-run governments in the state” can’t go without comment. After all of the CV articles about government waste, abuse of power, strong-handed tactics and intimidation by government officials, wouldn’t “best-run government” seem to be an oxymoron?

Mike Rowley
–Clive

Braley wins on the issues; Ernst fails that test

James Stroman’s summary of the Ernst vs. Braley race in the Sept. 4 Cityview produced considerable heat but very little light. His sole preoccupation with each of the candidates’ gaffes and campaign advertising rather than the issues ignores the sharp contrast in policy positions between them.

Voters making a choice between Ernst and Braley should focus on issues, not silly animal ads.

Braley is fighting to raise the minimum wage and address the growing inequality in wealth that has left middle class income static. Ernst cheerfully says that $7.25 per hour is adequate for Iowans and opposes a progressive tax system that would benefit the middle class.

Braley is committed to maintaining Social Security while Ernst repeated recently she would consider privatizing Social Security. (Translate privatize to mean “destroying the promise to our children.”)

Stroman claims Ernst isn’t beholden to oil interests. However, she was caught on tape thanking the Koch Brother’s oil and gas empire for launching her campaign; she called it, “this wonderful network.”

This race provides a stark contrast pitting Ernst, financed by big oil and greedy corporate interests, versus Braley, a champion for the middle class and a defender of Iowa seniors.

Rick Smith
–Urbandale

CORRECTION: A recent photo in Front Row was erroneously labeled as Grouplove. It was actually Portugal.The Man.

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