The Oklahoman offers job to new OSU beat writer. Rescinds it two weeks later.

Back in July, Ryan Sharp – one of the few remaining employees in The Oklahoman’s sports department – hopped on Twitter to excitedly announce that Ellis Williams had been hired to join the paper’s Oklahoma State sports beat.

That’s pretty cool. Just like the University’s coaching positions, the Oklahoma State sports beat has been a decent stepping stone gig for writers over years. Hell, if Mike Gundy cooperates, there’s even a chance you can become an overnight viral video sensation! Who wouldn’t want that job!

Unfortunately for Ellis, the gig lasted about as long as a Jenni Carlson paragraph. While he was packing his bags and searching Apartment Finder for a place to live, The Oklahoman’s HR Department called and rescinded the offer…

That sucks for Ellis, but on a positive note, he doesn’t have to move to Oklahoma. Also, he doesn’t have to spend every waking hour covering Oklahoma State athletics. That sounds about as fun as sitting between Robert Allen and Sam Mayes on a Southwest flight after eating Chinese food!

Naturally, the news really upset the millennial journalism types who fail to understand just how outdated, antiquated and unsustainable the newspaper revenue model has become. They griped and complained and blamed the corporate overlords, which I get, while overlooking that the days of having legions of editors, copy editors and writers covering one sports beat are unsustainable and long gone.

The journalism establishment website Poynter – which covers the fall of newspapers better than anyone – even covered the story. Here’s the quote they got from The Oklahoman publisher Kelly Dyer Fry:

Kelly Dyer Fry, publisher/editor and vice president of news at The Oklahoman, told me in an email, “Ellis is a talented young man and we wish him all the best. There is never an easy way to make difficult cost-saving decisions. Trying to save local journalism can sadly break hearts.”

Not to be pessimistic here, but if we have to depend on a failing, gaffe-prone, conservative newspaper like The Oklahoman to “save local journalism,” than I’m pretty sure local journalism can’t be saved!

Wait. That was deep. Maybe I should turn that “oh so bold” commentary into a house ad?

Anyway, I don’t know anything about Ellis, but just like Kelly Dyer Fry, I also wish him the best. It didn’t involve moving across the country, but I’ve had something similar happen to me in the past. Learn from the experience, move on, and like most newspaper people I know, maybe look at a career in public relations. It pays better and they won’t offer you a job and then take it away. That’s bad PR.


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21 Responses

  1. Ellis is HOTTTT!!

    1. Very much so!!! TLO has been sorely lacking in attractive gents through the years.

  2. “Rescinded” 5 weeks after being offered because of a RIF? Perhaps TLO could refer him to McIntyre Law to get a settlement for the trouble and cost of relocating for nothing. Good to know that if I subscribe to the Oklahoman and then rescind 5 weeks later I can expect a full refund.

    1. Checking my math before someone else does, I see this news is about a week old, so it was about 4 weeks, July 5 to ~Aug 2 according to the @BookofEllis tweet.

  3. I beg to differ with your assessment of the Oklahoman’s business situation. I’ve been subscribing to the print edition for years because…well, frankly, there’s nothing I like better than getting up in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee or three, and leisurely reading a newspaper. Yes, I’ve wished it were a better paper, but still, it at least has better coverage than local TV.
    About a month ago, delivery of my paper ceased. I used the Oklahoman website to register the fact that my paper had not been delivered and request delivery later in the day. Didn’t happen. Started calling and registering my displeasure. Friendly operators listened patiently and assured me the problem was temporary. Hasn’t changed.
    I have now given up any expectation that delivery will resume. I’m still pissed at not being able to read that fresh newsprint early in the morning, but unlike you, I have to admit a grudging admiration for this new Oklahoman business model. Think about it: they no longer have to print my paper, they don’t have to pay someone to deliver it, and best of all for them, they’re still collecting the money I paid to subscribe. It may not be sustainable, but in the short term, you gotta admit, it’s brilliant.

    1. You know, this is happening to my mother and her neighbors. They paid for a subscription to the paper, but they don’t receive the paper. She calls the Oklahoman over and over….nothing.

      1. Subscribers unite! You’re victims
        Of consumer fraud. Call McIntyre law now! Seriously.

    2. It’s not brilliant, it’s criminal and pathetic.

    3. My mother was upset last year that they were asking her to pay a processing fee online. She called upset about this (she’s retired and has time), but they would not give any ground to their 40 year customer. My mother canceled her print subscription nearly a year ago and they continue to deliver it to her front door daily.

      Someone is getting your copy apparently.

  4. Why in the world do you stay in a state that you can’t stand?

    1. Love it or leave it? Go back where you came from? Where have I heard that before?

      I’ve lived in Oklahoma for most of my relatively long life and I love Oklahoma deeply. It’s home, for one thing. But I’m not a bit shy about pointing out Oklahoma’s numerous “bottom ten” statistics. I don’t have a son or daughter who is a criminal or drug addict, but if I did I would continue to love him or her while recognizing the faults and trying to correct them.

      Being silent about bad behavior is enabling bad behavior. I won’t do that to a State that I love.

      I doubt that Mike can understand emotions this complicated. The average lunatic shouting at clouds makes more sense. But I felt compelled to respond to him anyway.

  5. Keep reading TLO for all your important Okie news. Up next, top 8 cats that were rescued from trees by your local firemen.

  6. America is screwed. We’re exchanging trained journalists grounded in ethics and fair reporting and replacing it with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and smarmy local blogs. All more interested in getting likes or retweets than keeping us informed of news we need. Oh well wonder what Drudge thinks about this?

    1. He said back in 2015 that conservative voices on social media platforms were the next target, now we’ve seen biased enforcement of their Terms of Service. He also referred to these platforms as “internet ghettos,” where it will be circle jerk fests and confirmation bias run amok.

      In other words, people will waste their time and energy arguing with strangers, looking for instant gratification and confirmation of their ideas, never to have their opinions challenged in the marketplace of thought, and anyone who disagrees will be blocked and reported to the tech oligarchs.

  7. The Oklahoman hasn’t been conservative for a couple of years now. Just read their editorials.

  8. Zombie newspaper. Why can’t somebody just shoot it in its head and put it out of its misery?


      Nah, jk. I know you’re not serious. But don’t let the people at the paper read this, or you might be getting a visit from the FBI soon.

  9. But where am I going to get to wead Twammel cowums about someone who gwaduated from Okay, OK High School in 1951 wike I wead this morning – sewiously!!

    1. Brian – Brian Bates is that you?

  10. You have to wonder if the hiring freeze isn’t something to help facilitate the merger of GateHouse Media, the current owner of the Oklahoman, and Gannett.

    While consolidation is generally a good thing for the corporations who merge and eliminate competitions and jobs, as it tends to also improve the bottom line. For the consumer the race to the bottom and eliminating competition is rarely a good thing. But generally the consumer is the one who created this monster in their desire for the cheapest product. The consumer also has come to expect the news to be delivered to them free, and want it pre-digested for their consumption. Most are fine with the advertiser dictating what news they should watch.

    The biggest shocker to me is that a business the size of Gatehouse felt like they had to recend the hiring of one person at one of their papers. One would think that cost should be totally insignificant, that they should be reevaluating their entire business model.

    Perhaps it will all work itself out when Gatehouse gets Gannett and becomes the print version of Sinclair Broadcasting Group. The sad part is the consumer isn’t going to benefit with this consolidation, but it is too late as the tipping point has been reached, and there will be fewer and fewer news sources for the public.

  11. Better now than later Little future in print media.

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