What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 12, 2019

Post-Gazette Publisher John Robinson Block Gone Wild!

Last night, Charlie Deitch of the Pittsburgh Current published this:
At 10 p.m. on Feb. 9, [P-G publisher John Robinson] Block entered the paper’s newsroom and, according to the email [sent to Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh members from union rep Jonathan Silver], “went berserk.” Block wasn’t alone on his trip, he also had his pre-teen child with him following a dinner at the Duquesne Club. Block’s goal, according to Silver’s email, was to take the child’s picture next to a newsroom sign that read, “Shame on the Blocks!” Guild members anonymously told the Current that the sign was put on a bulletin board controlled by the Guild in protest of negotiations over healthcare benefits.
And:
“Block was screaming at the top of his lungs, raving like a lunatic and repeatedly and loudly slapping the Guild bulletin board with his hand. Block threatened to fire various managers, get rid of Mike and me and, most significantly, shut down the paper if the “goddamn Guild” did not remove the sign by Monday or Tuesday.”

The child was understandably upset and newsroom managers there at the time did their best to intervene on the upset child’s behalf as Block, according to the email, tried to pose the child in front of the sign and took their phone.
And finally:
“In the end, [human resource head Steve] Spolar and [Managing editor Sally Stapleton] got him out the door — Spolar confronted Block and loudly told him, ‘You need to go’ — and sent him on his way in an Uber with his [child],” Silver wrote. “It was an ugly situation that went far beyond a mere JR flare-up. Numerous people were left on edge, worried for their safety …
Um, if Block and the pre-teen were "sent on [their] way" in an Uber, how did they get from the Duquesne Club to the P-G? And why couldn't they just leave the same way?

The email from Jonathan Silver was intended exclusively for members if the Newspaper Guild, so unless a member of the guild emails it to someone else in the media, OR PERHAPS A BLOGGER LIKE ME, we won't be able to see it.

My contact info can be found on the upper right of this page. Just follow the "Dayvoe" link.

Given the ubiquity of cell phones, I'd hazard a guess that there are more than a few videos of Block's behavior.  I'd love to see one.  Or even just a screen shot.

My contact info can be found on the upper right of this page. Just follow the "Dayvoe" link.

An internal memo sent by the Newspaper Guild to the managing editor as well as the general manager of the P-G, states that guild members who are fearful of their safety will work from home "unless and until" Block's employee badge is deactivated and the building guard is instructed to keep him from entering OR Block consents to a weapons search of his office and person.

They're crazy worried over there.

I'm deactivating the comments for this blog post. Feel free to email in any tips, details etc.

My contact info can be found on the upper right of this page. Just follow the "Dayvoe" link.