Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Who's Working And Who's Not Working In D.M. Media

I received an interesting e-mail from an astute retired editor and writer at the local paper.

Here it is:

“Did you notice that the Drake men’s and women’s teams played a doubleheader at Southern Illinois on Sunday? Rick Brown was there for the men’s game, but he didn’t write anything about the women’s game.

“I don’t understand that, but I don’t understand much that goes on down there.

“The latest story going around is that Diane Graham doesn’t do anything at the Register – and Ken Fuson helps her.

“Fuson is supposed to be their hot-shot features writer, but he only writes one story every two months. In the meantime, Mike Kilen turns out damn good feature stories every few days, and probably for a hell of a lot less money than they are paying Fuson.”

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: Rick Brown is a friend of mine and one of the hardest-working guys in the sports department. I, too, thought it was strange that the paper didn’t assign him to cover both the men’s and women’s games at Southern Illinois. I’m inclined to blame it on his bosses—the sports editor and his assistants. They probably didn’t have enough sense to tell Brown to cover both games. But they didn’t hesitate to assign him to cover games involving Drake, Iowa State and Iowa during a hectic period—some involving large amounts of driving--in December when the collegiate basketball and football seasons were overlapping.

[As for Graham, people have been wondering for years just exactly what it is she does in her job as “managing editor /staff development”—whatever the hell that means. She’s been fooling ‘em for a long time. One guy wrote to me to say he had sent his resume to Graham twice when he was looking for a newsroom job, but got no response from her either time. It shouldn’t be very hard to write an e-mail that says, “Thanks for applying. We have no openings at this time, but we’ll keep your name on file.” Then, again, maybe Graham wasn’t awake on the days she received those resumes.

[As for Fuson and Kilen, both are talented feature writers. Of the two, I know Fuson better, and I’ve always admired his writing—before he left the local paper to go to a newspaper job in Baltimore and after he returned. It’s been a long, long time since the paper won a Pulitzer Prize, and I always thought Fuson was the only hope it had of ending the dry spell. I just wish he was in the paper more often. Kilen, meanwhile, continues cranking out very good stuff].


Speaking of Diane Graham, she’s the person you should contact if you’re interested in being an assistant sports editor of the local paper.

An out-of-state reader says he spotted this ad in

“The Des Moines Register is seeking an energetic and innovative
assistant sports editor to lead an 11-member copy desk in producing of a fully paginated section. Top candidates will have supervisory experience, proven editing and design skills under daily newspaper pressures and proven planning ability. Position also involves coordination with reporting staff, photo editor and graphics department. Candidate should be capable of building on our APSE award-winning section's traditional strengths while adding appeal for new and diverse readers. Send resume and work samples to Diane Graham, managing editor/staff development, The Des Moines Register, 715 Locust St., Des Moines, Iowa, 50304, or send email to When applying, mention you saw this opening listed at Job ads copyrighted by - (c)

[RON MALY’S COMMENT: The guy who tipped me off that the local paper was looking for another assistant sports editor headlined his e-mail, “Another Des Moines Opening.” Ho-hum. That pretty much tells the story].


About the local paper's search for an assistant sports editor, a sharp former newsroom employee said, "I guess if they're advertising, that means they think nobody on the sports copy desk is capable of doing the job.

"I would like to think that this is the result of that headline on the Vikings game in the Monday paper, but I doubt that it is."

The man was talking about this horrible X-rated headline in huge type that was on Page 1 of the sports section:

Vikings enter
through rear

Somebody should be fired over that one.


A guy called me, wondering what’s happened to Marty Tirrell in what was at least his second go-around in central Iowa sports-talk radio.

Tirrell was on the morning shift with Ken Miller at KXLQ, 1490-AM. Until Monday, that is.

“Two people, whom I trust, told me that he was gone as of Monday,” said a man who pays close attention to sports-talk radio in central Iowa. “Why or where he went, I don’t know. They also said Ken Miller would do the morning show by himself.”

I’m told that Miller’s on-air morning hours have been cut back to 7-9 o’clock. I guess they had been 6-9.

After leaving the first time, Tirrell told me that Des Moines sports-talk needed “a kick in the ass.”

So much for Tirrell kicking ass. The problem with KXLQ being a threat to kick some ass is that the station’s signal is so weak that few people can hear it.


Well, so much for that 15-1 record I thought Iowa's basketball team would have heading into the Illinois game later this month.

Michigan took care of that by rolling to a 14-point halftime lead en route to a 65-63 victory over the Hawkeyes in a strange Big Ten Conference opener tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Attendance has been a problem at home all season for Iowa, and its 15,500-seat building was just one-third full for this game. But the blame for the slim turnout couldn't be totally attributed to lack of interest among fans.

Snow--and lots of it--kept people home.

Some of Iowa's players performed like they should have stayed away, too.

"We had a very poor shooting night and we just didn't guard in the first half," Hawkeye coach Steve Alford told his postgame radio audience. "Having a team ready to play is a head coach's job, and I take full responsibility for that. That group was not ready to play to start the game.

"It was the first time that has happened all year, and it's hard to figure out, being the first Big Ten game."

Michigan (9-5) was an 11-point underdog to a 14th-ranked Iowa team that won 12 of its first 13 games.

Then there was Drake's 61-58 loss to arch-rival Creighton before just 3,014 fans at the Knapp Center. That crowd was held down because of snow, too, as Drake's misfortunes continued in the Missouri Valley Conference.

All in all, it wound up to be a stormy January night for the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs--in more ways than one.

Vol. 4, No. 296
Jan. 5, 2005