By John Dickerson
It’s the worst kept secret in town that the Arizona Republic is a sad and sorry shell of its former self. (Revisit Sarah Fenske’s 2007 cover story on the topic if you’re not clear on the details.)
And it’s the second-worst kept secret in town that the state’s paper of record is apparently about to get worse.
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For months, rumors have swirled that this spring would bring layoffs at the Gannettized daily. By the calendar, the ax has just another few days to fall. Not sure it’ll happen that quickly (and we hope it won’t) but the precursor came within the last few weeks, reportedly, in the form of buyout offers made to some longtime staff who qualify for AARP memberships. One of our favorite local blogs, espressopundit, caught wind of that.
Final announcements apparently still haven’t been made. Reportedly, the buyouts aren’t a great deal, but some are taking them. On the list, we’ve heard, is Richard de Uriarte, whose wit, intelligence and institutional knowledge is too good for that rag, anyhow, as far as we’re concerned. More than one person we’ve talked to cites him as the last reason to read the Republic. Reached at his desk at the Republic yesterday, de Uriarte said he’s not comfortable talking about the offers.
Others with exit offers, we’ve heard, include Joel Nilsson, (West Valley editorial page editor) Steve Yozwiak (Scottsdale Republic assistant city editor) and photographer Suzanne Starr. Arizona Republic Executive Editor Randy Lovely hasn’t returned a call seeking comment. But if you’ve got more information on the topic, e-mail me at email@example.com or call (602) 744-6549.