Next week Team Wren’s Nest will unveil the details about our partnership with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, but today I’d like to touch on something related and maybe more pressing.
Some of you may have read about the recent personnel overhaul at the AJC. In short, many writers that have opted for compensation packages are retiring–the rest will have to reapply for new positions.
Particularly disturbing and relevant is that the AJC is wiping out the Book Editor position, formerly held by the estimable Teresa Weaver.
(Some of you may remember when the Wren’s Nest graced the cover of the Arts and Books section. Some of you may remember when they accidentally placed the best picture of the article not on the front cover, but on page K12.
…I’ve since forgiven them, by the way.)
The consistently dynamite Wordsmiths Books blog has tackled the issue and received a “reassuring” response from editor Julia Wallace: book coverage isn’t going away, just the position of Book Editor.
While she has a point, I think it would make more sense (cents, too), so to speak, to put their mouth where their money is.
After all, they are the primary sponsors of the totally awesome AJC Decatur Book Festival — a first year festival that drew over 50,000 people and won a few awards despite a Sunday of driving rain.
Deleting the Book Editor position (and, like, all the other ones) is akin to the Wren’s Nest throwing out its artifacts and replacing them with holograms of Joel Chandler Harris and all of his stuff in the name of technology and cutting costs.
Except holograms aren’t cheap (believe me) and neither is cutting a service that is valuable enough for folks to blog in protest and write petitions. What is most amazing to me is the amount of positive feedback about the Book Editor now that they’re getting rid of the Book Editor. The AJC has never sounded so reputable! …unless of course if you count what they’re currently doing.
I don’t understand why they don’t take a look around at all the successful book blogs or journalists who blog very succesfully and then fit the mold. It’s not rocket science.
That way you retain value, develop a fan base, make the writer more of a household name, and maybe draw in some readers that wouldn’t normally read the Arts and Books section. I mean, that’s what the Wren’s Nest has done for WNIC, and look at her! Famous!
Here you can see Carson waiving to a stadium full of her adoring fans. “Thank you, Wren’s Nest Blog!” she says.
Then again, I guess it’s tough and very very complicated to downsize a large company, and in the end it’s about the bottom line. I refuse to believe, however, that the AJC can’t make money by allowing their writers to become small time celebrities and enticing more internet readers. ESPN understands this concept well, I think.
If Joel Chandler Harris had worked at the Atlanta Constitution in the 21st Century, I’ll bet he would have been one hell of a blogger. Can you imagine if Lewis Grizzard had a blog?