Terrance Gavan would rather be skiing. Errr. Teaching Skiing. Visit his ski website by clicking on the picture.

Terrance Gavan would rather be skiing. Errr. Teaching Skiing. Visit his ski website by clicking here.


(Editor’s Update: Ms. Jenn Watt, the former Managing Editor of the four papers sold to ‘a man’ announced on her Facebook page last night that she would be taking over from Mr. Lebo and returning to her old job… at the Echo… the bleeding has stopped and now she must turn her mind to restoring the papers to a semblance of good management. Kind of makes one wonder who quit who in this Maple Key drama.)

Crazy Seamus O’Bradaigh, the Shrike.ca media editor fired off another one of his scalding screeds regarding the break up – after less than a month – of a partnership between the new owner of the four former Sun Media papers (Minden Times, Hal Echo, Barry’s Bay and Bancroft This Weeks) and Bram Lebo, former Director of Maple Key Media and now recalibrated Owner of the Haliburton Highlander Newspaper (sic – jury still out).

Mr. Lebo’s editorial included this little la-di-da. Seamus already included this ditty in his article. I include it again because… well? I’m the goddam editor. And it’s necessary for background.

[quote]Essentially the issue was that the Echo and Times (and Bancroft This Week and Barry’s Bay This Week) had not been assembled in Haliburton for years. Many steps in the process had been split up among various parts of the Sun empire, in several locations, directed by people not part of the Haliburton or Minden teams.

It was as if someone had purchased a car dealership and then assumed they could build cars, not realizing the assembly line was somewhere else. (Sic… what a ridiculous and simpleton’s metaphor… is Mr. Lebo aware that Curry Motors does not manufacture Avalanche Trucks? You tell him. We don’t talk.) Normally in these types of deals, there would be contractual arrangements to ensure a smooth transfer of the critical systems and data necessary for the operation: client lists, ad bookings and ad management software, design software, accounts, templates, supplier contracts, subscriber lists, route delivery instructions and much, much more. I was assured these would all be taken care of and, since I had not dealt with Sun directly, assumed they would be.

They were not. (Lebo on Lebo. Not my fault! So there.)[/quote]

Essentially Mr. Lebo is absolving himself of any responsibility. He’s essentially saying that he had assumed his (unnamed) partner was smart. Lebo is saying he was misled. Hmmm. I wonder if Mr. Lebo has ever misled anyone in his life? Hmmm. Let me ponder. Oh never mind. The irony is too lush. The fruit is hanging way too low. But let’s just say: If he indeed was misled? I’m glad to hear it.

How do we know that Mr. Lebo has blame in his heart? Aha.

From this:

It was clear I had made a serious mistake in not insisting on due diligence, and fortunately we had included a provision in our contract that allowed me to unwind the transaction. It was an easy decision, because I believe the alternative would have put all of the papers at immediate risk. (From Lebo further into to his ‘take no prisoners’ screed.)

Seamus is right. The fact that Mr. Lebo would write such nonsense about a partner that he refuses to name speaks to the integrity of its author. Nowhere in this lengthy editorial does Mr. Lebo grow a set of balls and name his partner. Goddamit, we know who he is. We know who he is because he bought four bloody newspapers from Pierre Karl Peladeau. Seamus purposely refused to name the partner because he was – he said – being ironic.

I believe he said: “There. Now we have two goddam’ horseshit screeds about a partnership dissolved… and our readers still have no idea who the other partner is.”

Let’s make it three. I did due diligence and I know the man’s name. Let’s be clear. “A man” does (unlike Lebo) know something about the publishing business.

Therefore it is not at all surprising that the man in question – or “a man” as Mr. Lebo insists on calling him – realized with the first three execrable editions of the Times, The Highlander and The Echo, that he had taken on a Director that was incapable of putting out a quality product. Mr. Lebo offers the de rigueur nonsense about this and that and why that was thus and how none of it was on him. But all I hear is the squeak of a pip.

Truth be told.

A man. Decided. That Mr. Lebo and his Highlander staff were woefully inept, and bloody incapable of running the day to day business of four real newspapers. And the Highlander.

As it turns out? “A man” made an astute decision and he stopped the bleeding before that remake of the Game of Thrones Red Wedding turned the headlines and the spreadsheet to gushing crimson.

I believe you will – Dear old Highlanders – see the return of Jenn Watt and Chad Ingram. I’m going out on a limb here. But I think that a man pulled the plug on Lebo because he knew that Watt was the only one capable of stepping up and assuming her old duties. In fact? I will go further and say that when “a man” realized that both Watt and Ingram would not work with his new Director, Mr. Lebo, a man was already making plans to unplug the umbilical cord.

Mr. Lebo has made this all about Bram Lebo. How he was surely duped by what he calls a lack of due diligence on the part of “a man.”

It’s really pretty disgraceful. That Mr. Lebo would make a dog’s breakfast of producing three papers and try to put it on “a man.” Instead of where it really belongs. On the incompetent team assembled by the Director of Maple Key Media. Yes. It’s just that simple Bram. When you are tasked with a job? And you fail miserably? You don’t get to blame it on “a man.”

It’s on you. You wear the “kick me in the arse” signage. Just you. Call yourself a Director? Then Direct. Quit whining at the bloody moon like a lonesome puppy in search of his chew toy.

Shame on Mr. Lebo. Shame. Shame. Shame on you.

For not having the guts to step to the plate and assume some responsibility for the lackluster papers you provided to Haliburton County in that brief, thankfully brief, tenure as the Director of  a Clusterfuck of epic proportions.

New Coca Cola? Anyone…?

The skateboard kids on YouTube have a nice summation of Mr. Lebo’s lacklustre foray into newspaper management.


Terrance Gavan is the Editor of the Shrike.ca. He can be twittered @terrancegavan.