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There’s yet more on the not-so-slow death of the region’s major daily newspaper here.

Carol Goodhue the “readers representative” who took the buyout has this piece of news in her farewell:

Editor Karin Winner said she plans to appoint a replacement for me because she wouldn’t want to leave the readers unrepresented.

Gross. There are two things nauseating about this: 1) Winner and the U-T’s higher ups have seen the “readers representative” as the person to justify the U-T’s decisions, not question or investigate them. And, 2) Winner’s promises are vacuous. This is the same editor who’s supposedly appointed a “team” to replace departed columnist Gerry Braun. This was the editor who was supposedly going to bring us more investigative reporting and who was also supposedly going to break down the ridiculous barrier built between her news staff and the online functions of the paper.

Let’s remember what she said just a few short months ago:

“Readers will see lots more watchdog journalism throughout the paper,” Winner said. “Holding our public officials accountable is the number one expectation readers have of us.”

I must have missed this amazing summer of public accountability. What I saw, instead, was a steady stream of people who actually did that work flowed out of the paper. Some remain but for how long? We could wait for her next statement but her promises are as shallow as her public profile.

I would repeat what I’ve been saying: If anyone in the very top ranks of the organization actually cares about the community and its needs, they must replace the paper’s leadership and then decide how much more to cut. It’s just asinine to keep cutting writers and reader services without first developing a full recovery plan. And you can only do that with new, fresh leadership.

Stop the bleeding. You may have to eventually cut more. But this is madness.

For the community’s sake, if you are thinking about buying this diseased old institution, please do it quickly. Its caretakers now are carving off the best pieces of meat. At this rate, only vultures will want it.

SCOTT LEWIS

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