Thursday, April 3, 2014

My journalism mentor seeks new opportunity

Mug shot of Steve Buttry
Steve Buttry
Steve Buttry, a mentor of mine, announced that he’s a free agent, following layoffs by Digital First Media.

Until February 2013, I worked at the Lake County Record-Bee in northern California. Owned by MediaNews Group, it joined the DFM family when MediaNews appointed John Paton as its CEO and entered an agreement with Digital First Media to provide management services.

The move brought a change in emphasis from next-day print journalism to “digital first” publication across websites and social media.

Buttry was digital transformation editor for Digital First Media. Before meeting him, I became a regular reader of his blog and joined weekly Twitter-based chats among DFM journalists.

From May 30, 2012, here’s a recommendation for Buttry that I wrote for him on LinkedIn: “Steve Buttry’s ‘The Buttry Diary’ is a must-read for journalists contemplating their future in a digital-first information landscape. Each post offers timely commentary on digital media and social media developments. Non-journalism readers will also find much of benefit when examining their use of social media.”

(And if you followed the link, “Mmm. Smooth Buttry Goodness” really is the name of Buttry’s blog. The name change was temporary, an incentive to donate to the American Copy Editors Education Fund. If further donation thresholds are met, the name will enjoy a longer tenure.)

Buttry learned today from Paton that he no longer had a job.

An analysis by Ken Doctor for cites the coming sale of DFM newspapers in clusters around “the Los Angeles area, the Bay Area, New England, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.” Given its distance from metropolitan areas, I hope the Record-Bee and my former colleagues there are spared much of the fallout.

To Mr. Buttry, I can only say, I really appreciated your mentoring. I hope you find a great opportunity with a company that knows the value it’s found in you.

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