Man, what am I, the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Just days after praising Nicole Garrison-Sprenger for her work on the Pioneer Press’ Denny Hecker package comes word that she’s leaving for a political appointment with the Pawlenty administration. She’ll become spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce.
This is what they mean when they talk about newspapers losing young talent. Garrison-Sprenger’s only been at the PiPress for three years, which puts her third from the bottom seniority-wise at a time when future whacks loom. According to the PiPress Newspaper Guild, management just told union negotiators that want to slice pay 7 percent, among other cuts. More on that in the next post.
Another downer: In recent months, the PiPress has not been able to replace reporters who have left, including Jennifer Bjorhus and Rachel Stassen-Berger, who jumped to the Strib. With labor negotiations afoot, it’s hard to imagine that changing, but I’ll update you there as well.
Update: Editor Thom Fladung says Garrison-Sprenger’s position won’t be filled.
For now, here’s the memo from senior business editor Doug Iverson:
Nicole Garrison-Sprenger is leaving the Pioneer Press to become communications director at the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Since joining the newspaper three years ago this week, Nicole has played a leading role in some of the newspaper’s highest profile work. The Ramsey Town Center series, awarded a national certificate of merit from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Denny Hecker coverage, recently highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, are just two examples.
We knew Nicole had a lot of energy when she joined us. She came with a mile-long source list, a catalogue of story ideas and a deep understanding of the financial beat. She soon showed us she was also a quick study who could jump in on a breaking story off her beat and still trounce the competition. Watching her work these past few years has been inspiring. Equally inspiring has been Nicole’s commitment to the profession, exemplified by her tenure as president of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Nicole’s last day is Nov. 11. Please join me in wishing her well.