While talking turkey — how the gobble of a turkey became synonymous with straight talk about difficult topics makes no sense to me — with various friends at the Review-Journal this past week, I kept saying, “Keep your head down.”
Then it dawned on me the kind of image I had in mind.
This past Tuesday at a staff meeting everyone was told six top editor positions were being “restructured” into two. A couple of days later when he returned from vacation, the editorial page editor made it seven. He is married to the city editor, so that potentially leaves a family with a high-school-aged child minus two bread winners. Really thoughtful of them.
Many of the people I was talking to feared that, despite assurances to the contrary, that they could be next. Thus my advice to keep a low profile, which is rather hard to do by the very nature of their high-profile, often controversial jobs.
The image that kept creeping into my mind was one of going to Thanksgiving turkey shoots as a child. Not the ones like today where you shoot at targets and the winner gets a frozen bird. No, those used live turkeys corralled behind an earthen embankment just high enough that the shooter could see nothing of the birds until they raised their heads. That was the target.
This video clip from the movie “Sargeant York” is not meant to make light of the situation at the newspaper, but to illustrate the career deadly seriousness of how management is making the people who made the paper what it was — not is — feel like targets.