Politico reported Friday that Washington Times publisher and president Jonathan Slevin would be no more come his contract’s end on April 30. Now, they have Slevin’s farewell letter, despite the insistence by the Board of Directors (whom Slevin calls “aloof or out of touch,” and more) that he remain silent upon his departure. Instead, he has some choice words for his ex-bosses, along with some sound advice for media soldiers everywhere.
On the subject of the Board of Directors, whom Slevin says have been an obstacle since his hiring last October, the outgoing publisher had this say:
This 2-person Board has no experience in the newspaper business, and since taking an active and intrusive role in February have involved themselves incessantly in operational matters, including taking charge of financial, legal, and human resources with which they lack the operational knowledge to make judicious decisions.
He continues, slamming his onetime protege, editor Sam Dealey, as a tool of The Man, and more damningly, a snitch.
Slevin makes sure to sneak in a strange crack at “the center left establishment media,” and warns of the danger of biased information, but then he drops a thoughtful paragraph of general advice that many would do well to heed. Or at least read?
In parting, some brief advice: 1) Work collaboratively throughout the company; 2) Respond to the marketplace by putting digital first, radio second, and print products third, flowing onto newsprint as the outcome of first meeting the 24/7 customer digital demand; 3) Disperse authority in the newsroom throughout, structuring foremost to serve a digital audience. Recognize that the era of the newsroom as separate and supreme empire and editor as emperor is over.
Read the rest of Slevin’s fiery — and frankly, sort of punk — goodbye letter here.