Kansas City Star Lays Off Editorial Writer Yael Abouhalkah And Others
Longtime Kansas City Star editorial writer Yael T. Abouhalkah was laid off today, Abouhalkah said in a Twitter posting.
Abouhalkah, a 37-year veteran of the paper, was among its most prolific and best-known writers.
Liberal in his orientation, he was unusual among editorial writers in that he often did his own reporting rather than merely commenting on previously published reports.
In recent years, he was relentless in his criticism of the administration of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and its tax cut policies.
His departure comes shortly after The Star hired Colleen McCain Nelson, a former editorial writer at the Dallas Morning News and currently a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, to be its new editorial page editor.
Nelson will replace Steve Paul, who accepted a retirement package earlier this year. She begins her duties at The Star after the presidential election.
Calls to Abouhalkah and The Star’s publisher, Tony Berg, were not immediately returned.
Abouhalkah was among at least three Kansas City Star newsroom employees to lose their jobs today. Also laid off were Cindy Hoedel, who wrote about arts and culture from her home in the Kansas Flint Hills, and Tom Ibarra, an assistant sports editor.
The Star has endured numerous rounds of layoffs and buyouts over the last eight years as the paper, like other dailies, has seen its revenues and circulation drop. The last round of layoffs occurred in August, when at least five newsroom employees with combined experience of well over 100 years were let go. That followed a round in March that saw the departures of another half a dozen or so employees.
After posting the news about his layoff on his Facebook page, Abouhalkah had drawn nearly 150 comments by late morning.
Kansas City Star employees asked about the news said they had not been offered an explanation for the layoffs.
Abouhalkah's departure currently leaves The Star with just one editorial page employee, Lewis Diuguid. In addition to Steve Paul, Barbara Shelly, another longtime editorial writer and columnist, took a buyout earlier this year.
Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.