Newspaper fires two arts reporters (they wouldn’t  do this in sports)

Newspaper fires two arts reporters (they wouldn’t do this in sports)


norman lebrecht

April 04, 2014

This just in from Bob Keefer, in Eugene, Oregon:

I’ve been fired by the Register-Guard. Since I retired from full-time work in July, I’ve been contributing a couple art reviews to the Arts section each month as a freelancer. But according to a one-line email I just received, “We won’t be needing your freelance services anymore.”

There was no explanation, but this follows closely on my public support of former colleague (arts reporter) Serena Markstrom Nugent, who was fired by the paper last month, while on medical leave, after working there 13 years. See today’s Eugene Weekly for details on that story.

Let’s just say I’m not devastated. Of course I’ll miss the opportunity to review more art shows around town, but it’s time to concentrate on my photography and writing projects, as well as working with Wordcrafters writing conference and Lane Arts Council.

See you on the Art Walk!

Small town stuff? No, a sign of the times.

bob keefer


  • V. Lind says:

    They do it in sports all the time. As far as I know, there are only two or three golf writers left on the mass of British dailies. Same situation in the US. Newspapers are struggling, as you may have heard. Cutting right left and centre.

  • V.Lind says:

    They would do this to sports, and have. Every paper used to have a golf writer — three survive (UK) and very few (US). Coverage of anything except major team sports has dribbled away (though I think the recent advances of Andy Murray have saved a few UK tennis writers’ jobs — for a while and if there were any left after the UK’s lengthy drought in that department).

    Newspapers everywhere are shrinking their overheads. It’s a tragedy, but it seems irreversible. In a way, it is fora like Slipped Disc that have cost those arts jobs, as it is the sports blogs that have rendered beat sports reporters unemployable.

  • Amy says:

    Serena Markstrom Nugent posted on Bob Keefer’s Facebook statement this morning:

    “Also, ya ya there’s a lot more to the story, but the TRUTH is Bob was my best friend at the paper and we worked closely together for the better part of a decade. The day before this “rally,” his plans were to come with me as I cleared out my desk. At that point there had been zero talk of protesting my crock of a firing, but there was to be a pleasant send-off inside the building with co-workers. It was on his calendar to be there for me during the culmination of what had been emotionally difficult few months, before which we spent very little time discussing our managers or their strange behavior. He’d watched the whole thing unfold. He knew my experience of being a worker there changed dramatically after I filed my FMLA paperwork. I dont begrudge anyone a company-loyalist attitude at this point, in fact it would be a clever survival tactic, but dumping Bob like that was rude and unnecessary. If it were thought through, which it arguably was not, the intention was most likely to send a chill over anyone else who might consider associating with the person upon which the company attempted to put a scarlet letter. The problem is: I never let them shame me, hard as they tried. I never believed them when they tried to tell me who I was. Because I haven’t changed, and if they didn’t like me, they should have fired me before I was pregnant for something legit.”

  • Sam Carlson says:

    Definitely incorrect.

    Writers for print publications are dropping like flies in every department.

    Sports departments are far from immune, and writers for just about every sport except “The big 3” are long gone.

    The few remaining writers have to multi-task across an extremely broad spectrum.

    Ironically, those print writers in just about every category are usually let go because blogs have replaced the need for them.