Des Moines Register Breakdown

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    Geez, I could have written this about Being and the 737Max.

    Good post, btw.

    Speaking of The Lazy B, I heard a rumor that engineering over there is getting restructured a bit. In the past, all the engineers reported ultimately to their program heads (a program being one of the aircraft lines), and the program heads would report to the Chief Engineer, who would report to the CEO. Now, over there, you lower level engineering managers are all engineers themselves, but as you climb the ladder, the number of engineers starts to thin out in favor or MBAs & (oddly enough) JDs. Very few of the program leads have engineering backgrounds (if any).

    Result? Engineering concerns get massaged and messaged before making it to the Chief Engineer.

    Rumor has it, going forward, all engineers report directly to the Chief Engineer, and program heads are only responsible for resource management, not engineering decisions. So if the engineers raise a concern, they can take it directly to the Chief Engineer, and it won’t have to pass through people who do not have the education or experience to understand it.

    Which, from what I’ve heard, is how things were before the McDonald-Douglas merger.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, Hoorah for that. In my corporate life, we had one Senior VP (an engineer) who actually cultivated relationships with line engineers to create his own pipeline to what was really going on, even though most of his direct reports and chain were also engineers.

      When a company gets to big to be on just one site, like Boeing is, that becomes impossible, so they have to do something like this.

      I recall Microsoft having an even more odd project structure, but it was meant to address similar concerns.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Doctor Jay
        Ignored
        says:

        One of Hewlett or Packard was famous for “management by walking around,” dropping into individual labs and asking people to talk about the problems they were working on.

        The largest technical project screw-up I ever saw was big enough that there were almost 2,000 engineers working on it. The senior guy was brilliant in his field — he had, as they say, forgotten more fiber optics and laser physics than I would ever know. He also knew nothing about software, wasn’t interested in learning, and had been heard to remark publicly that software wasn’t and would never be engineering. Unfortunately, 1,000 of his 2,000 engineers were writing a multi-million-line real-time software system to control the hardware. At some point when the hardware work was nearing completion, the software people he had been ignoring finally got through to him that they were something over 18 months behind schedule. The board offered him a choice: take a two-level demotion, or resign and they would write him a glowing letter of recommendation. The guy was well enough known in the telecommunications industry that he managed to convince two more giant companies to hire him, and he managed the same sort of software fiasco at each of them.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    There was a great tweet today (that I can’t remember, dang it) that asked the question:

    What are the journalistic ethics of calling Mr. King up and saying “dude, you have *GOT* to delete this crap right freaking now before anybody sees it! People will start googling you about 2 minutes after we publish this story”?Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Good news! Buzzfeed has interviewed the poor reporter who was the victim of the firing!

    “This event basically set my entire life on fire,” reporter Aaron Calvin said.

    Read the whole thing lest you miss quotes like this one:

    “I recognize that I’m not the first person to be doxed like this — this whole campaign was taken up by right-wing ideologues and largely driven by that force,” he said. “It was just a taste of what I assume that women and journalists of color suffer all the time, but the kind of locality and regional virality of the story made it so intense.”

    Report

  4. Avatar Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    Aaron Calvin did a really stupid and bad thing, was hung out to dry by the folks who helped him do it, and paid for it with his job.

    Gee, how dare the rest of society use the same evaluation techniques on media representatives that they use on the rest of us.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Siegel
    Ignored
    says:

    Aaron Calvin was failed by his employers at every turn. They failed to give him guidance on the story, they failed to give him guidance on dealing with the backlash and then they cut him loose in an industry that is already hard up for jobs. Utter disgrace.Report

  6. Avatar Owen Duncan
    Ignored
    says:

    I agree with the author’s point that the real significance of this debacle is the undermining of faith in a local news source at a time it is very much needed. The best article I’ve seen on this.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    “I recognize that I’m not the first person to be doxed like this — this whole campaign was taken up by right-wing ideologues and largely driven by that force,” he said. “It was just a taste of what I assume that women and journalists of color suffer all the time, but the kind of locality and regional virality of the story made it so intense.”

    So…in other words…It’s my political opposition that ruined me. My actions were blameless. This guy shows no perspective, no growth. He’s not a reporter, he’s a political operative generating propaganda and reporting the “news” through his political world view…but that’s what reporters are now. No amount of coaching would likely fix this as the higher ups at the paper are all in the same alignment with his politics.Report

  1. February 3, 2020

    […] You remember Carol Hunter, don’t you. This is the second national mess the Des Moines Register has found itself in recently, and the second time Hunter has put out a statement on the matter. The first was back during the Carson King/Aaron Calvin/Beer sign guy kerfluffle that went from feel good viral story, to cancel culture touchstone, to journalistic maelstrom. After that bit of fun, Carol Hunter did a statement, which most, including me, found wanting: […]Report

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