Tag Archives: columnist

EXCLUSIVE: Kyle Whitmire, Birmingham Weekly part ways

Media of Birmingham has learned that columnist Kyle Whitmire is leaving Birmingham Weekly after 9 years with the publication. Whitmire characterized it as a mutually agreed upon split.

His final War on Dumb column will appear in Thursday’s issue, while his last official day will be Sunday. Whitmire covered city politics, winning several awards for his coverage. Most recently, he reported on the federal trial of former mayor Larry Langford and the resulting special election.

Whitmire was also the principal architect in bhamweekly.com’s current site design. He was most recently featured as the subject of the cover story, “Fighting City Hall,” in B Metro magazine, discussing how he wants to be remembered someday:

“I have this revenge fantasy that centuries from now an historian or archeologist will find what we’ve written in the Weekly and wonder, ‘Why weren’t these people in charge?’ So whenever I think no one is reading what I’m writing, I say to myself that I’m writing for posterity. Someone might mistake ‘War on Dumb’ for the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

He’s also a co-founder of Media of Birmingham.

Whitmire declined to reveal his immediate plans, other to stay in Birmingham.

Update Jan. 27: Whitmire offers an instant history lesson in his final column

At the turn of the 21st century, Birmingham pined to be more like Atlanta. Little did it know it was well on the way toward making that nightmare come true.

The city ended the decade as it had every one before, as the “city of perpetual promise.” Some perceived this as an indicator of incessant failure. Others, rightly, knew its true meaning — the city of perpetual hope.

Also, Whitmire penned a farewell note via Facebook:

I’m incredibly grateful for my time at the Weekly and the opportunities it has given me. For the last nine years, I’ve been able to cherry-pick my assignments and I’ve had the editorial latitude to have a point of view as a columnist — things I never would have had at any other media, at least not at such an early stage in my career.

Whatever happens next for me, my time at the Weekly made that possible.

Plus, AL.com sports producer Dennis Pillion has his theories about the sudden departure of the Weekly’s best-known columnist.

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Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity?

Do Birmingham publications suffer from a lack of diversity? Do they reflect the city they serve?

The questions were prompted by a glance at the redesigned landing Web page for the Birmingham News. Granted, these are just the columnists, but the News and AL.com decided these are the ones to feature prominently with mug shots.

birmingham-news-columnists

Birmingham News columnists

All white, with two women out of eight columnists. The city population itself is 73.5 percent African American.

Compare that with the recently launched B-Metro magazine, which also features its columnists on the front page of its site …

b-metro columnists

B-Metro magazine columnists

We see a little more diversity, with three men out of nine contributors, one African American.

birmingham magazine columnistsAt Birmingham Magazine, the four columnists featured are all women, all white. (See graphic at right.)

(The Birmingham Business Journal doesn’t include writers’ photos on its site.)

The questions we have:

  • Should the writers featured on a Web site (and in the publication, too) reflect the diversity of its audience and market?
  • Do advertisers care about staff diversity? Do readers care? Or publishers?
  • Does diversity make a difference to the bottom line?
  • Can publications diversify, even as they’re cutting resources and staff members?
  • Are smaller publications — Birmingham Weekly, Black and White, Birmingham Times — facing the same issues?

Your comments are welcome below.

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