Thursday, February 21, 2008

Scott Wasser returns to the TL

Scott Wasser, onetime Wilkes-Barre Times Leader sports editor, is coming back into the fold – as managing editor for news and business. Joe Butkiewicz will be overseeing features and the weeklies. Not that the TL was going to get Joe Pulitzer to run the newsroom, but Wasser seems to have spent the last few years writing quasi-puff auto and home electronics stories for bottom feeders like Curtco's Digital TV and Electronic House. Wasser had also been doing PR for Wesley College in Dover, Del. It's not clear if the comment shown nearby – found among the comments in a Google cache version of a story Wasser wrote for Electronic House – has anything to do with his availability in Wilkes-Barre.

John Plucenik writes about how Scott Wasser helped get him started on the TL sports desk

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened to features ed Sandy Snyder?

Anonymous said...

So basically Joe B. couldn't handle his job so they split it in two.

Anonymous said...

way to save money

Anonymous said...

If Wasser still has his fastball, this will be the best move Connor has made since he took over.

Anonymous said...

Worked there about 10 years ago, and agree with 6:21 and 7:07. People respected both Scott and Joe. Snyder? Not a very pleasant person and very insecure. There are many odd stories that could be told.

Anonymous said...

Snyder is a good copy editor and does well with the At Home section, but she has no clue about how to provide exciting arts and entertainment coverage. The Guide at one time, when I was in Wilkes-Barre in the late '90s, was very good, though it had a decent-sized staff back, a team of good writers, and Joe Butkiewicz ran it. They should let Sandy keep the At Home section, put her on the copy desk a few days a week with the rest of her time, and give The Guide back to Joe B.

Anonymous said...

Wasser is a good guy to work for. The new TL generation will like him. Do your work and do it well, and he'll always have your back. And Joe B. fixing up features is a good move too.

Anonymous said...

Some of these mostly flattering comments about Scott and Joe might be true and probably are, but if you don't work there anymore, you don't know what went down. How did Scott end up coming back and Joe B. end up getting his old job back, which he probably liked more anyway? What's the word?

Anonymous said...

I think 7:07 nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Wasser either hired, or improved upon the performance of, most of the top people who have worked at the TL in the past 20 years. The question is whether he will be happy trying to handle the grind of daily newspapering after several years out of it. Rest assured, one thing he will do is put people in positions to succeed. You might see some people come back to town, too.

Anonymous said...

Sandy Snyder is a horrible person to work for, hence the revolving door in features. How many young writers has she chased out of the newsroom?

Anonymous said...

Snyder is miserable. She is an awful person, and an awful person to work for. People don't go after her because she won a lawsuit against the Times Shamrock folk when she was rightfully shit-canned. That's it.

Anonymous said...

SS is the worst person in the building by a mile and that's saying a lot. She would be Allison bad if she had anything more than a miniscule amount of power.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Wasser 15 years ago. Good guy for the job. As for the person that said the Guide was good in the late 90s, the Weekender kicked its ass in terms of providing relevant entertainment value. Joe B. changed that in the early 2000s. It's a good move for him and the paper. And I agree when SS was hired yo so many years ago, she was a copy editor and a good one. I left before she went into features. But you're right the features area sucks. Good luck to Joe B., a class act.

Anonymous said...

What you're all missing here is that Joe has been overseeing the features department all along. Since LaCoe took over as edit page editor. (Was that 2005?) So Joe HAS BEEN overseeing the features department. So don't completely blame Sandy. Joe's been in a position to make changes, he just chose not to. Probably because he had many, many other things to do. But that's not an acceptable reason why the Guide sucks.

The Guide hasn't been relevant since, I don't know, ten years ago, unless the local theater is of your interest. Aren't there other things going on besides what the Little Theater has on tap? Not that it shouldn't be covered, but a bit of variety would help.

Anonymous said...

7 a.m. follows up:

Not sure exactly when the Guide began. I was using 10 years ago a la A-Rod......

Anonymous said...

Scott Wasser is a good guy, but does he know anything about hard news? He was a sports guy. A good sports guy, but that's different.
What's not being said about these changes is that it appears Connors is unable or unwilling to attract new, outside talent.
It seems the TL needs a shot of new blood, not recycling people from the old days.

Anonymous said...

Is Snyder still there?
It's bewildering the TL has allowed her columns to run all this time. She should have been cut off a long time ago. Nobody understands them. The columns are disjointed thoughts cobbled together.

Anonymous said...

I got to the TL in 1987 and I think that Wasser was on the news side then. From what I remember he and Allison had a power struggle (go figure!!!).

Anonymous said...

Wasser's auto reviews used to run in The Express-Times in Easton. Not sure whether that was by contract or syndication, but it seemed like solid work for the subject matter.

Anonymous said...

the Guide started in 1998

Anonymous said...

Wasser was AME, or the equivalent, once before, in the mid-to-late 1980s. He was in charge of the newsroom other than copy desk and design (which Walzer ran). In those days, he was actually Walzer's equal. He was involved in hiring Corbett, among others. He also developed the late Jerry Kellar from an agate clerk to a beat reporter and columnist. He also later served as the editor of the TL's Web site. His strong suit is finding the right person for the right job and letting that person do it. He's very good at watching your back, as a previous poster said. He pretty much saved Van Rose's butt at one point years ago.

Anonymous said...

This is how Wasser is going to run the newsroom:

911: "Rescue 211 and Engine 87, report to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for a fire on the third, fourth and fifth floors."

TL Newsroom: "Get photo, round up three or four reporters, get photo up in a plane."

Wasser: "Wait, you have to finish your review on the new Compaq desktop 3000. And where is your review on the 2008 Ford Explorer."

Anonymous said...

That's actually pretty accurate ... except that he'd be doing the car review so he'd have something to drive that week.

Anonymous said...

Don't know Wasser and never read Snyder until yesterday. What a weird column. She wrote a 20+ inch column about a tea kettle. At least that's what I think the column was about. Frankly, I had a hard time saying with it, or caring about it. She seems to be in love with her own vocabulary.
Has Connor ever read this stuff?
If the features section is lousy and this type of stuff gets in, it's also on him.
Is Wasser the guy who used to review cars?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it was about a coffee maker. Safe difference. Pretty bad. As the previous poster said, it made me dizzy. Who long has she been features editor?

Anonymous said...

Fom 8:01 -

Yes, I think you're right. I think it was about a coffee maker, and how it didn't match the kitchen, or something long and boring like that. (I meant to say I had a hard time "staying with it.") Is that all it takes to get a column at the TL these days? To churn out pointless stuff like this? Don't know the chick, but it's a pretty strange style.

Anonymous said...

She's still the features editor and will still be making life miserable for anyone unlucky enough to get stuck working under her. Didn't the last four or five reporters to work for her leave without jobs?

I've never heard anyone say so much as a single nice thing about her. She's just a terrible excuse for a human being. Bad writer too.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who tries to write a colummn and uses the word stalwartly to start a second graf is bad. Bad. That's it.

Anonymous said...

She loves old-guard words like that

Anonymous said...

That librarian analogy made me remember Carol Thomas, wasn't she the old librarian at the TL?

Anonymous said...

Judging by these comments, with so many people asking who Wasser is, it would seem none of these people have worked at The Times Leader in quite a few years, and must have only been at the paper in the early 2000s. That's when I was there, too, and if I recall, that's also when features started to change and, right after that, when features writers started to bail. I too found the editor to be a bit stuffy. Wasser, if I recall, was the sports editor and the guys liked him.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It looks like all post-2000 TL people here, yet also those that have been gone for a few years. People who weren't even there in the '90s, don't know Wasser, and don't remember the old Guide. If you were only there from say about 2002-2005, all you saw was the slide of The Guide. Features used to have a big staff of writers, and though you can't blame Sandy Snyder on the downsizing, she did seem to run some people out of there. Didn't know Wasser, but always heard pretty good things.

Anonymous said...

You TL folk are a kind bunch. I noticed that nobody here is looking to see someone lose their job. Change positions, maybe, but at least nobody is as nasty as the TS bunch. You can recognize talent, and just hope it ends up in the right position. Wish it was as diplomatic up here.

Anonymous said...

In case anyone cares, here is the features roster as of December 2000, shortly before Snyder took over:

Joe B., editor
M.T. Biebel
George Smith
Clarence V. Rose
Alan Stout
Jen Waters

Anonymous said...

I'm reposting from the other day because too much is being made of this. This is simply a return to the newsroom order of about a year and a half ago - right around the time I left - when Iseman and Butkiewicz were co-managing editors and Butkiewicz supervised features and the weeklies. It seemed to work well at the time. And though I was critical before of the current features sections, or at least how it was when I moved out of NEPA in '06, it is true that the department had been downsized considerably since the late '90s. It is hard to put out big quality sections with no staff.
Thankfully, at least Sandy still had MTB - a nice writer and classy lady.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty strong features staff, 11:06. Did Waters replace Nocek? He was a good writer, too, if I recall.

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

This may be a return to an old system but you are overlooking one thing. The big thing. News. Butkewicz an Woelfel have more or less been demoted. Being in charge of news day to day is a lot different than overlooking features and weeklies. The biggest part of the paper is the news section. They are bringing in someone new to oversee that. Those two were never big on hard news.

Anonymous said...

It does seem like hard news in general is an afterthought with Connors.
Since he seems to be intent on tying to recreate the glory days, any thoughts on who else might be making a return.
And, have any of them held positions of similar responsibilty at another paper?
I think its telling that Wasser's post tl career has been as web editor, car reviewer and PR guy.
That doesn't scream hard news to me.
Makes you wonder, if he'd be a great ME, why for the past decade has no one else picked him up???

Anonymous said...

"Strong staff" and "Clarance V. Rose" in the same sentence?

Anonymous said...

Visitors to this area may notice that some recent posts about the current and/or former features editor at The Times Leader have been removed. They have been removed at the request of me, the author, not by the people that run this site. The truth is I have been out of that place for some time now and have moved on to another career, far removed from what happens there, and I didn't feel right about some of the things I wrote. I have no idea how the TL operates these days, I was in that environment for a relatively short time, and though some of my experiences there weren't always so good, there were plenty of very nice and talented people there that I really liked. Sandy Snyder, nor anyone, deserves to be attacked on a board like this. Good editors, bad editors, nice people, grumpy people - who really cares? It's just work, and I know I've seen lots of good people that I used to know get beat up here. I did it too, for a day or two. I thought it would feel good to comment about someone that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way sometimes, including me. It didn't feel good. It made me feel like a type of person I do not want to be. Apologies to all. Any other negative comments here did not come from me. Mine have been removed.

And, not to get preachy, but an associate of mine who is still in the newspaper business once told me about a similar site where he worked, out west, and reminded me that once something is on-line, it can be googled and found for years to come, as long as the site exists. When you slag somebody here, you're not just taking some cheap shot at someone to a bunch of journalism nerds and geeks, you're leaving a little mark. Someday, we'll all have to answer to our maker, and that's the type of mark I want on my rap sheet.

I wish everyone who is still at The Times Leader back in NEPA nothing but the best.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you meant "not" the type of mark you want on your rap sheet.
Fair enough, lady. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

Yes - that is what I meant. Thank you. Now, I'm out of here.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. The crap that Snyder and those like her do and the impact it has on others leaves marks forever too. I doubt it bothers their consciences. If they dish it, they better be able to take it.

Anonymous said...

The Guide was much better with Joe B. I worked along side Joe and Anne on the Guide. I also worked with Sandy Snyder until I left in 2002. I liked Sandy. She is not easy to work with at times. I would wait around for the feature story and get it and there would be no art whatsoever. MTB was the best to work with. I like Wasser, but was jealous of all the free cars.

Anonymous said...

Notice a pattern here:

* "I worked there about 10 years ago ..."

* "When I was in Wilkes-Barre in the late '90s ... "

* "Is that editor still there? ..."

* "Don't know Wasser. Never read the 'At Home' column until today ..."

* "I've been out of that place for some time now ..."

* "I left in '06 ..."

* "I worked there for a relatively short period of time ..."

What you have here is a group of people that probably breezed through The Times Leader five or six years ago, and then decided to comment on the current ongoings at the paper. It's odd. And I see it all the time, all over this board. I don't really care about the daily events and newsroom changes at my old paper. I stay in touch with a few old friends, and that's it. If you are Butkiewicz, Wasser or Snyder, I'd pay not attention to this crap. One person writes that Joe improved The Guide in the early 2000s. Actually, I believe that's when Joe left features. Even the compliments here are factually incorrect. It is clear that not one person on this entire thread still works in Wilkes-Barre, and if they ever did, it was a little pit stop, long ago. Maybe they didn't like it, and they quit. Fine. People do it all the time, every day, all around the world. Move on, people. Move on. You'll sleep much better. You put out your paper- wherever you are - and let the TL folk put of theirs.

Anonymous said...

Heard from a friend of Wassers that he (Wasser) reads this all the time and even defeneded himself on some posts.

not enought hard news to cover and just waiting for his next car to be delivered?