Talent Drain: Detroit News Loses Columnists, Reporters, Editors

December 20, 2015, 10:23 AM by  Allan Lengel

Laura Berman

Newsroom buyouts or "incentivized retirements" are common as papers around the country try to reduce payroll costs.

The News and the Free Press have been doing them for a while, as have The New York Times, Washington Post and many smaller ones.

The latest round at The Detroit News will be a blow to the paper.

Thirteen people taking this latest round of buyouts include columnists Laura Berman, Marney Rich Keenan and Terry Foster.

Others are music writer Susan Whitall, film reviewer Tom Long, reporters Tom Greenwood and Kate Lawson, photographers David Coates and Charley Tines and veteran editors Joanna Firestone, Judy Diebolt and Mary Bailey.

Tom Greenwood

 Editor Johnathan Wolman and Managing Editor Gary Miles emailed a staff memo Friday:


We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the momentous changes in our newsroom and for some of our longtime colleagues over the next few days.

Thirteen of our most experienced and accomplished journalists will leave us for new adventures at the end of next week as a part of incentivized retirements. They are Mary Bailey, Laura Berman, David Coates, Judy Diebolt, Joanna Firestone, Terry Foster, Tom Greenwood, Gary Heinlein, Marney Keenan, Kate Lawson, Tom Long, Charley Tines and Susan Whitall.

We’ll surely miss the experience, good humor, great stories and photographs and steady guidance they’ve provided over the years. There’s no question that these are some of the most talented colleagues many of us will ever have the opportunity to work with.

Marney Rich Keenan

That said, we’re happy this opportunity gives them a comfortable start on the next chapters of their lives. We’ll plan a celebration to honor their contributions after the New Year.

Meanwhile, we’ve already started posting openings and identifying candidates for a new round of hiring in Local, Washington, Lansing, Sports and Features that we’re confident will bring the next generation of outstanding journalists to The News.

Our vision will be the same: Continue to identify and tell the important and compelling stories in our community in 2016 and beyond.

Gary and Jon

Susan Whitall

Those who just took Freep buyouts are food critic Sylvia Rector, reporters Patricia Montemurri and Cassandra Spratling, photographer Julian Gonzalez, picture editor Diane Weiss and sports writer Steve Schrader.

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