Newspaper Wars, West Metro Edition

Guild members at the Star Tribune worry about their contract and wonder about their editor

Two weeks ago, 320 Guild members signed a petition and 30 of them walked it to the front door of executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal's office. The purpose of the exercise was to express disappointment in the company's lack of flexibility in bargaining and to point out that a number of the most troubling proposals on the table have been proffered in the editor's name. "What would Anders think if McClatchy wanted to demote him and cut his pay while taking away an existing right to challenge those moves?" asks Guild member and Strib reporter Mike Meyers. "What would Anders think if McClatchy topped all of that off with an offer of a one percent raise?"

Gyllenhaal, a McClatchy prodigy brought in to replace Tim McGuire in June 2002, came directly from the company's News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, with a reputation for an even hand and strong sense of story. In his first year, the paper's staff--which had grown weary of McGuire's scattershot management style and ever-cautious news judgment--has been inspired to produce a better paper.

Over the last couple of months, though, there have been rumblings that Gyllenhaal has become increasingly inaccessible, more apt to delegate authority than directly engage with the rank and file. Now, news that he is asking for more middle managers and more "managerial horsepower" at the bargaining table has, for the first time, caused reporters to wonder out loud whether McClatchy brought Gyllenhaal to Minneapolis to help them tame the Guild. "What we do know is that we have a new editor here who comes from a non-union environment," Steve Brandt says. "And it appears he is interested in adapting his newsroom to his experiences, rather than adapt himself to the environment he chose to lead."

Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor of the Star Tribune, came to Minneapolis a year ago with a "bank-load of goodwill."
Tom Wallace
Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor of the Star Tribune, came to Minneapolis a year ago with a "bank-load of goodwill."

When contacted to comment for this story, Gyllenhaal said he could not talk while labor negotiations were at a sensitive point. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, he has to say after the Guild and management settle on a contract. "He came in here with a bank-load of goodwill, and it would be a tragedy to see him stand against staff on issues that virtually everyone agrees on," concludes Strib reporter and Guild member Jon Tevlin. "He has the opportunity to step up and be the hero."

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