Editors' note: Unfortunate changes in lawrence.com staffing

Lawrence.com made the difficult decision this week — for financial reasons — to let go two staffers who have been with the site for years.

Phil Cauthon, longtime lawrence.com editor, and Gavon Laessig, lawrence.com writer and podcaster, were both let go in a round of layoffs at The World Company.

And while their departure is very sad to me, it does not mean our commitment to our lawrence.comrades is ending. Jon Niccum, entertainment editor, will take over day to day operations of lawrence.com. He's been leading its operations as Phil's supervisor for many months now.

In fact, you've probably read lots of his work here already. Jon will be assisted by members of the features staff. We've also continued our relationship with all of our freelancers and contributors as well.

Additionally, we're working on some new features for lawrence.com we expect to launch this summer. We're building on some technology we've tested on our health site that allows you all to be a much more integral part of the site itself.

We're going to do our best to continue to make lawrence.com the place you want it to be. But I have no doubt sometimes we won't succeed. It's impossible to do all of Phil and Gavon's work as well as they did right away. But our goal is to continue to provide you with the lawrence.com experience that you all expect.

Don't ever hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions or concerns, or with Jon Niccum. This is your website. We just work here.


onceinawhile 11 years, 11 months ago

That's a shame. You'll be missed, Phil and Gavon.

<p>Lawrence.com has rapidly been going downhill in my opinion over the past couple of years. I don't see this helping.

AnnaUndercover 11 years, 11 months ago

Very sad to hear this. I love Gavon's stories and corresponded with Phil a couple times.

corduroypants 11 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunate. I thoroughly enjoy Gavon's writing. Best of luck to you both.

jimmyjms 11 years, 11 months ago

Poor, poor decision by the world co. Product has been slipping, taking these two away only ensures further mediocrity.

Sorry fellas. Best of luck to you both.

postfactumproductions 11 years, 11 months ago

the only reason i still read the lawrence.com(even after moving away two years ago) is because of Gavon's writing. there was no other point. especially after the style scout stopped caring about style and just stopped any random person on the street wearing a teeshirt.

Gavon will be truely missed. Sorry Lawrence.com..you have officially lost another reader.

OtherJoel 11 years, 11 months ago

This seriously sucks. Phil & Gavon: I'm really sorry to hear this. I hope you find a new home that values your talents.


chewyfally 11 years, 11 months ago

Phil has been a mentor to me for several years. Without him, and many other lawrence.com writers, I would not be where I am today.

Eric TheCapn 11 years, 11 months ago

Ugh. While Phil was obviously not a mentor to me, he's a great guy and an amazing editor for lawrence.com. My best wishes to Phil.

bebop_cola 11 years, 11 months ago

How pretentious do you have to be to name your company THE WORLD. Seriously, The World Company seems pretty ghey.

jayhawkca 11 years, 11 months ago

What was that insult you used? Not cool.

oliveoyl 11 years, 11 months ago

I am so sad to hear this news. It won't be the same without them. I really hope the World Company will come to regret this. Best of luck to you Phil and Gavon. I'm curious to see these "changes" they speak of b/c so far they made two horrible decisions by letting these guys go. Ugh indeed.

corkster 11 years, 11 months ago

really, world co? you have to lay people off, and you choose the best, most hilarious writer on the site (gavon)? wtf are you thinking? how does this make sense!?! oh, i know, you're morons. you hear me? MORONS! good luck making this site as good as it was without gavon. idiots.

sorry, gavon. you were my favorite part of lawrence.com. i always appreciated your writing; it always made me laugh out loud. good luck :-)

astrokitty75 11 years, 11 months ago

Ugh. Not surprising because, as said in prior comments, this ship has been sinking for quite a while. I get that money is an issue but I wonder what/who could either have been cut instead OR if people that probably don't need as much $ could have taken a paycut instead so that people like Phil and Gavon could a.) keep providing us with entertaining content and b.) keep a couple of locals employed so they can stay plugged into what's going on and help Lawrence.com retain what little "street cred" it had remaining.

I don't use it much anymore except to check the upcoming events calendar because I've HATED the (now not so new) GUI since the first day it was unveiled.

As for Gavon, he should just go out there and pimp himself to every entertainment blog he can...he's very funny, whip-smart, and knows how to entertain. Still, it sucks major donkeyballs to be out of a job and as a friend of his I feel for him.

Colby 11 years, 11 months ago

The only reason I started reading Lawrence.com is because I followed Phil over from the now defunct Rockkansas.com. This is a HUGE loss for Lawrence.com, a move that should of been looked at more closely. Best of luck you two, I hope you guys can find work fast and I'm sure where ever you end up, most of us will follow.

Kim Le 11 years, 11 months ago

seriously this is completely lame. you fired the best contributors!

sallyt 11 years, 11 months ago

Before I even considered moving to Lawrence, I came to visit in 2005. At the time I was working for a (let's call it "fledgling") college town web/print combo. Lawrence.com blew me away. I went back to my publisher after that trip and told him I'd found the future in Kansas. He didn't believe me. He should have. This lil' publication has the kudos and longevity to prove it is the key to unlocking journalism's future. I can't help but feel like (especially in the past couple of years), that the support necessary to see that future to fruition has become less and less.

There is no reason for Lawrence.com to fail. Period. No amount of economic fingerpointing or "death of print" wakes will make it acceptable for this publication to wither away.

Protect it at all costs, World Company bigwigs, because Lawrence.com will ultimately prove to save you all in the end. Unless, of course, you're just ready to watch your industry curl up and die. It doesn't have to, but until the old guard accepts and concedes to the new, you'll stay twisted up in that wind. You led the pack at one time. It may be too late to regain that footing ... but it doesn't have to be.

matt 11 years, 11 months ago

LJWorld already threw Lawrence.com away when it canceled the print edition. It was a touchstone in the community, and they turned their back on it by not paying bloggers, firing editors, ignoring the developing models of monetized sites (instead relying exclusively on ad revenues), avoiding creativity in it's business model, and ignoring exclusive content. Instead, they decided to turn the site into a link depository (no editing needed!), leading viewers away from the site, while running duplicate stories on LJWorld.com (again, making viewers look AWAY from the site). What did they expect unique page views to do? Go up?

Phil and Gavon were only holding the shambling thing together, frantically plugging the leaks in the ship while waiting for either a financial cutback or a department shutdown to kill them. They did it out of faith to the past, to the town, and to the community; or what there was left of it. Because refreshing leadership sure as hell wasn't coming. It's clear; management strangled the content. They took the first and foremost web presence in Lawrence and made it a dust bowl. They did it by being stupid and short sighted and limiting their hired talents' skills.

[To the Editors] I mean, Christ, you threw away a (actually not A, THE ONLY) hip, viably profitable newsweekly and actually managed to damage the community. It was the town's printed schedule! Your damned paper used to LITERALLY draw friends and me out of our offices at lunch so we could peruse it on Wednesdays over lunch, thanks to the full schedule and the brilliantly attractive layout. Who else can claim that?!? The Onion? Vice? Well, follow their business models, it's easy enough to find a copy. When I moved here in 2004 I made friends over talking about what was in Lawrence.com (Can't anyone remember Willie the Warlock?!?). It was a water cooler for the entirety of downtown. And you threw it away, you absolutely threw it away.

So, what's wrong with going back to the old ways an making them new? 2004, I mean. Here's what you do, invite these positions back and start the presses ( I Have names, but it feels rude): •Community/Articles Editor •Head Writer under EIC only •Entertainment / Creative Director •Layout /Art Direction •5-10 COMrades: Go back to paying and editing them. The content, with knowledgeable editing, will generate web search responses. •Find a student intern to fine tune your Adsense draws. Get rid of those electronic cigarette ads! •Hire a service like Project Wonderful to feed you ad content. •Develop a paypal based subscriber side service with exclusive content in addition to your impressive free side. Micro payments. I'd pay $5 bucks a month for exclusive heads up ads and drink deals and door passwords for show discounts. EVERY. BODY. WOULD. And it would cost you nothing.

Boom, I just fixed your shit. You're welcome.

Keep it local. Keep it profitable. But dammit above all, just keep it.

  • Matt Armstrong

Chris Tackett 11 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. Micro-payments should have been considered before killing Deadwood, which was one of the best ads for the site.

Plenty of things could have been done differently from a strategy perspective, but in my very humble opinion, you need to start with some low-hanging fruit, like fixing the archive. When the site migrated to this new design, the formatting of blogs was destroyed. Years of hard work has been striped of line breaks, links and photos. Surely this has impacted the search rank of these articles, which has business implications, but it also shows a disregard for the past, a disrespect for readers and a let down to the bloggers, who were crucial in fostering the community that used to exist here.

I know fixing that html is a huge project and the programmers have better things to do, but it's worth fixing. Whether by hiring people from South Asia on elance for $5/hr, recruiting a high school or KU programming class or organizing a corp of volunteer readers, do it. It's flabbergasting that it has been allowed to remain this way for so long. To me, as a former blogger and reader, it gives the impression that no one cares. If you don't care about the time and energy people put into those blogs - for free - why should we care to return as readers?

Make content easier to share. For so long I thought there were no social tools, but then noticed them at the bottom of posts. I had just been tuning them out. Try moving them beneath the byline or off to the side, like this (http://mashable.com/2010/06/18/facebook-800-million/).

Experiment on commenting systems. As we all know, lcom blogs and stories used to generate dozens of comments of intelligent, funny and passionate discussion and debate. That went away somehow, but it's important to figure out why. Gawker has the right idea with rewarding quality. http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/04/tough-love-gawker-finds-making-it-harder-for-comments-to-be-seen-leads-to-more-and-better-comments/ This alone likely wouldn't solve it, but lots of thought should go here. Have you asked readers why they comment less? Maybe start there. Hell, I'd even be tempted to go back to '04-'07 and email the regulars and ask for their feedback. They might not be the regulars anymore, but I suspect they'd have something valuable to say.

This final point will likely be ignored, but I think Lawrence.com needs separation from the LJWorld brand. Nothing against LJW, it is a good paper and site, but they are (or were) two very different beasts, with two very different audiences and the more they combine, the less-appealing lcom becomes to what was once the core audience. In my opinion, the less lcom looks, acts and sounds like the LJWorld, the better. Repositioning at this point is hard, since the curtain has been pulled back, but I think this was a key mistake in the history of lcom.

That's more than I came here to say, so I'll quit. Curious to see how it shakes out.

onceinawhile 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree that running duplicate stories on LJWorld was a bad move. As a longtime Lawrence.com reader, it left a bad taste in my mouth (wasn't this site supposed to be different from LJWorld?), and led to less original content on Lawrence.com, meaning less reason to actually read it.

Clearly, over the years this site has been abandoned by leadership at LJWorld, and it's too bad. Making it another WellCommons doesn't excite me.

alm77 11 years, 11 months ago

"Find a student intern to fine tune your Adsense draws. Get rid of those electronic cigarette ads!"

Selling advertising, especially online only advertising is VERY difficult to do. I could go on, but I won't because I shouldn't.

Your other ideas sound fine, but they would have to invest in all of those salaries and then hope that the ad revenue came through? That's a pretty risky gamble.

I agree that cutting Phil and Gavon loose was not cool, but neither was slowly muzzling them into conformity. Now they're free, pretty much anything either of those two do would be awesome.

April Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

advertising salaries tend to be based on commission.

alm77 11 years, 11 months ago

Which is why no one is going to be willing to put in the hours to be told "no" to online advertising. And it's not smart to hire the entire staph based on the hope that someone will be willing and able to do it - that's what I meant by salaries.

Jill Ensley 11 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, I used to think sometimes that you were just a blowhard, but well done, Matt Armstrong, well done.

yed 11 years, 11 months ago

Well said, Matt. I especially like the paypal side service...you could make some money at both ends there.

All in all, this is a sad deal and I'll have nothing to look for on this website anymore. Gavon's writing was always refreshing and mostly hilarious. I wish both Phil and Gavon the best of luck...it's my hope that this will be a blessing in disguise for you guys.

edog 11 years, 11 months ago

I was wanting to make a comment, but matt blew anything i was gonna say out of the solar system. So, YEAH! WHAT HE SAID!

mamallama 11 years, 11 months ago

that sucks so much, you may have just caused a devastating tornado. I agree with much of the above. Lawrence.com has lost interest and integrity since it went out of print. I think maybe Gavon's gooniness -- the daily dose, the caption contest, manscaping -- was the only reason I visited this site. f the world company. they'll sink they're own ships. let's go guerrilla.

Dean Edington 11 years, 11 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Lawrence.com pretty much owe it's existence to the impetus of Phil? For shame World Co.

KacieFaye 11 years, 11 months ago

I fully agree with chewyfally. Phil believed in me before anyone else. Thank you for your support and both of you will be missed.

Douglas Redding 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt Armstrong said it best. I only add, "You fools! You fools! You foolish fools!" Phil Cauthon & Gavon Laessig did a bang-on job. I hope they make something big happen for themselves.

Joel 11 years, 11 months ago

I mean no disrespect to any of the people who are carrying forward Lawrence.com -- some of whom are friends and former colleagues of mine -- when I say that Phil Cauthon was the heart and soul of the site.

These are very, very tough times in the media industry, and I doubt such a decision was made lightly. Nonetheless, a very sad development.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 11 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely. L.com without Phil? Now it's just the entertainment supplement to the LJWorld. Boo. Hiss. Boo.

scary_manilow 11 years, 11 months ago

How do you type a middle finger? Because seriously, that's about the only comment worth making.

alm77 11 years, 11 months ago

I text it like this: ..l., So that works. ;)

scary_manilow 11 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Keith 11 years, 11 months ago

Yep, welcome to Go magazine online. Meet your new editor Cathy Hamilton. Soon l.com will be nothing but coupon blogs and boomer reverie.

campblood 11 years, 11 months ago

the "World Company" sounds like a COBRA front business. Tomax and Xamot will be their replacements.


Now they'll just offer a bullshit blog to anyone and they won't have to pay them.

cakefever 11 years, 11 months ago

This is horrible news! I love Gavin's posts!

I will light a candle under my David Hasselhoff shrine for you, buddy. You'll always be our Caption Captain.

Marcy McGuffie 11 years, 11 months ago

What can I say that hasn't already been expressed? This sucks, hardcore! Boooooooo.

artstew 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow World Company, you really don't know how to take advantage of the energetic talent around you. If you just keep hiring sales people to run things and firing people with imagination your ad revenue will continue to drop. What made this site special was it was local but did not cover the same topics as L-J World. It is as simple as that. If you want interest, you need to be interesting. "Accept No Substitute", doubt it. There were only a few reasons to ever visit this site, interesting articles from Phil and Gavin, and the events. Well Phil and Gavin are gone, and almost nobody posts their events here anymore, they use Facebook. What used to be ahead of the times, is now way behind and I doubt with your current approach you will ever catch up.

scary_manilow 11 years, 11 months ago


Seriously, remember what Lawrence.com looked like BEFORE Phil revamped it? Those days are coming back in a big way-- mark my words.

Then again, this change surely reflects a more conservative attitude in Lawrence (I'm pretty sure Gavon's take on "Manscaping" was a bit too button-pushy for some of the fuddy duddies in this town)... If there was more of a market for this sort of thing, they may not have pulled the plug, but alas, Lawrence is turning into a retirement community for ex-Johnson County stockbrokers, and our cultural output has to be watered down to suit their tastes.

alm77 11 years, 11 months ago

You know what's crazy? I saw several pieces of Gavon's on the headline of LJW.com, the place you would think that he'd get hated on the most, but no, they loved him too!

Chris Tackett 11 years, 11 months ago

Agree with Joel, "...Phil Cauthon was the heart and soul of the site."

This is a huge mistake, imho, but unfortunately one of several during the recent past. Can't stop thinking of what I would have done differently, had I somehow been in charge. Hard to say what would have worked, but losing Phil is the last thing that should have happened.

For Lawrence's sake, I hope whoever remains can make this work, but I'm not optimistic based on recent moves. Hope I'm proved wrong.

James Stewart 11 years, 11 months ago

Well, business is business I guess but this consumer will certainly be spending less time viewing your sponsors' advertisements as a result of this decision. Gavon's Daily Doses were the highlight of my afternoons and it will be very hard to find anyone else who can turn a simple internet meme into a comedic goldmine.

guppypunkhead 11 years, 11 months ago

Clearly the World Co is having financial problems, just like every other newspaper in the country. The way to solve this problem.... put all your money into your newspaper and cut your digital projects! Good idea! The future was already here and it was digital media... it doesn't take a crystal ball to see this was a big, big mistake.

Best of luck to The Jons- you all have big shoes to fill.

sallyt 11 years, 11 months ago

maybe they can find some suggestions from record label execs? i mean, those guys sure got everything straightened out.

oliveoyl 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree with above posts, the heart and soul of lcom was Phil. He revamped it and made it his baby. I've known Phil for a long time and know how HARD he worked.

It's great to see so much support for them! Keep it comin.

Jonathan Kealing 11 years, 11 months ago

For what it's worth, I've read every post here. And don't misunderstand, we're in no way doubling down on paper products. While they remain important for now, digital is our future and where the lion's share of our future investment of people and energy will go. And that includes lawrence.com. I appreciate everyone who's offered ideas — Matt, I'm looking at you in particular — and suggestions for what we can do to improve. If you have suggestions for types of content you'd like to see more — or less — of, do leave a comment here or shoot Jon Niccum an e-mail.

oliveoyl 11 years, 11 months ago

Please keep the content local. I don't mind bits sprinkled in regarding the art/music scene in KC or regionally but one of the reason why I loved lcom was b/c it was community oriented.

drebinfrank56 11 years, 11 months ago

Kealing, if you shovel any more corporate BS onto this thread, it may collapse under its own weight.

Matt Toplikar 11 years, 11 months ago

Big mistake. I'm really pretty dumbfounded. Phil is an amazing "editer". Gavon is a hilarious writer. I just don't get it.

I've been living away from Lawrence for about 3 years now, and I've kept lawrence.com as my web browser's homepage the whole time. I don't see a point to this site anymore.

Goodbye lawrence.com -- bring these guys back and you'll see me again.

faintlyamused 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree with all of the comments above, and definitely want to reinforce that Phil was the heart and soul of lawrence.com and it was his vision and dedication that made it such a great and important voice for the ENTIRE Lawrence community throughout the years.

Unfortunately this news isn't too surprising-- I wrote the Style Scout column first solely for lawrence.com and its readership and then once the print edition was canceled, for the Journal World target audience, and definitely could foresee that something like this would happen.

It's a very sad day, and I hope the World Company will try to support the original mission of lawrence.com as an alternative voice for the community.

I also agree with everything that Matt said in his comment.


Shelby 11 years, 11 months ago

I've always loved Jon Niccum's work (I miss "Silhouettes"!) and I think I speak for (at least) many here when I say that the outpouring of (much deserved) support for Phil and Gavon should not be misconstrued as votes of no confidence in Jon and Jon.

April Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt said it best. This site didn't get the support it needed for a very long time - from what I could see, it never seemed to be sold properly to advertisers (long ago I used to sell advertising for the Pitch) and when it was in print it was not easy to find a copy consistently. I remember hearing a story about an advertiser trying to tell a customer about a coupon that was in the paper and the customer literally couldn't find one. Getting some boxes out on Mass street never seemed to me like too much to ask.

I can't hold anything against Jon Niccum or Jon Kealing - I don't doubt this was a hard decision - WellCommons doesn't give me much hope, though. I already miss Phil and Gavon here.

drebinfrank56 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt's dead on in his criticism and breakdown. And while I hold nothing against Jon or Jon, I'd love to hear how they are going to make this site so magical by laying off the very people who made it so great in the first place. Seems like you need people to do work, and there can't be many left now.

Good riddance, Lcom - I'll remember the good times and hope you won't suffer much longer in your inevitable spiral in to coupon blogs and Boomer Girl yarns.

sands 11 years, 11 months ago

Let the boycott begin.

LJWorld and L.com have been rubbish for some time now, but this combined with the absurd "Breast-gate" story have convinced me that neither site is fit to deliver the movie times, let alone anything remotely resembling thoughtful analysis or compelling entertainment.

I sincerely hope both sites will move behind shilling coupons for Veggie Tales and style-scouting vapid townies, but if they do I will have to read about it somewhere else.

I can get the weather, concert info, etc. from other sources so y'all are now obsolete.


Danny Spence 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm very sad to hear this news. It's a huge loss for this site and for the Lawrence community.

April Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

Uhhhh....How does Matt get banned from the boards before Rob? Not that Rob should... It's nice to even see him on here. Just confusing. While we're at it, why'd Rob get edited?

scary_manilow 11 years, 11 months ago

Because I said the F word. But I don't recall Matt saying anything untoward.

April Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

I guess I need to pull my head out - it's been a while, but i didn't think people got moderated on lcom for simply swearing. I thought there was plenty of content on the site that had naughty words in it.

Not that this is the real problem anyway, though. Whatever.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 11 years, 11 months ago

Really? They're editing out curse words in the comments now? Jesus tits, I didn't realize things had gone that downhill. Coupon blogs and menopausal self-indulgence, indeed. G'bye, L.com. I loved ye well, but this was the last. Effing. Straw.

astrokitty75 11 years, 11 months ago

Wait...does barely using the site count as a boycott? If that's the case, then I've been showing solidarity for that cause for a while now!

Sorry, all the really meaningful stuff has already been said by people much more capable with their words than me. Er. My. Myself? Whatever. Now I've just been reduced to snarkiness.

As for Mr. Niccum...I like what he does. He also seems like a genuinely nice guy. I don't blame him or anyone else put in a position to replace/take over for the people who got the axe. I think we all understand this is a short-sighted management issue and a, as said before, likely just the penultimate death-knell of something that was once a unique, vital, interesting part of Lawrence. I am sad about it...but I've been sad about many of the changes that have seemed to damage the look/feel/intent/"soul" of L.COM.

I almost exclusively click on links Gavon supplies via twitter and facebook, following them back to L.COM. Otherwise, the only other time I use the site these days is when I'm using the event schedule...which is rare.

momsy 11 years, 11 months ago

I think it says a heck of a lot that there was NOT ONE post on here out of 60+ saying that this was a good thing or even remotely a good thing, or a "step in the right direction", or "understandable", or "makes sense."

Phil- thanks for helping provide an outlet for me and the bands I've played with for the last 10 years(even back in the Rock Kansas days!!). I wish you nothing but the best.

-john momberg

matt 11 years, 11 months ago

Okay, they've let me back in. Maybe it was just a flub in the accounts, I don't know. But what I really wanted to say was how nice it was to hear from our generation of l.com bloggers! We're all here hanging out and talking! When was the last time that happened?!? Good to hear from all you guys and gals.

Tim Quest 11 years, 11 months ago

I looked up "cutting off your nose to spite your face" in my idiom dictionary and, lo and behold, this article came up.

April Fleming 11 years, 11 months ago

The lead article on the site is about CHILDREN RUNNING A LEMONADE STAND. Awesome. Goodnight.

sallyt 11 years, 11 months ago

I heard they got some amazing coupons for supplies at the Hy-Vee ... surely there's a link somewhere around here on the ol' l.com ...

onceinawhile 11 years, 11 months ago

Saw that, and why I came back to this post. Do they not understand anything about the Lawrence.com readership?! We are not the same people who read Go!

Give me a break.

scary_manilow 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm assuming Worldco only has money for one or the other, and we all know that Lawrence's heart truly belongs to the retired Boomer set, so of course GO! is going to absorb L.com (and its budget)... Like mayo and egg whites, it slides right down and leaves no aftertaste. Much easier on the geriatric constitutions of the old geezers who run this town.

Mike Blur 11 years, 11 months ago

Took me a few tries to remember my password. I'm just on long enough to read this article (which was tweeted to me) and to say good-bye.

DOTDOT 11 years, 11 months ago

Whatever I thinkity thunk this exploit is fugue to a funk and broke hearted pain it trickles insane down deep to the roots of my junk

Try finding a rhyme for Phil Caulthon then eat a big meal and go slothin cause raising the flag doth shrinketh the bag til even it won't fit a moth in

But mostly my little friend Gavon who most often had me 'bout calvin' the mill needs the grist (and bathroom stall tryst) So new job quite soon you'll be havin'

Miles Bonny 11 years, 11 months ago

VERY surprised that Phil was let go. In my mind Phil was the center of Lawrence.com from inception. He was amazing to work with and my experience as an early podcaster with the original lawrence.com was an important and valuable experience for me.

Phil THANK YOU.... now to something better?

boxturtle 11 years, 11 months ago

For many readers Gavon is Lawrence.com - the flagship small town website lauded about in the New York Times. Lawrence.com just fired Lawrence.com. Ljworld just fired it's future. How can such a large local monopoly be so short on cash and vision. I think the problems lie elsewhere, and that story will never be reported on.

samowen 11 years, 11 months ago

Damn, LJWorld. Damn. Pretty much what everyone else said. This is a huge blow to Lawrence as a locale, and will definitely prove to be a huge mistake for the World company.

proclubitras 11 years, 11 months ago

Boomer-girl-diary-lady for real? What a great fit for the site! I'm sure she'll woo the readership with her insights on "crushes" and colonoscopies.... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/aug... http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/oct...

synapsis 11 years, 11 months ago

I just want to reiterate a few of the major themes already expressed:

1) Idiot move, World Co. As a journalist, I know first-hand how bad things are; but damn, really? You'll have to explain to me how alienating and pissing off the entire digital generation of Lawrence is supposed to help your bottom line or increase interest in your publications.

2) Phil and Gavon... I'm sorry for your loss, and the loss we all feel at the thought of L.com without you. Something tells me that we're far from hearing the last from you. I fervently hope that's the case. May your future endeavors make you far more happy.

3) Good luck, Jon Niccum. You're a friend and you've got a real talent. I hope the World Co. isn't screwing you too -- but since you probably just took on an additional metric shit-ton of work without anything resembling a raise, they probably are. Good luck trying to keep L.com relevant to its audience. You've got big shoes to fill.

4) I just want to thank all the fine folk who have made L.com great -- past and present. Especially Phil, whose very act of starting L.com gave me an incredible opportunity and one of the best years of my life. So thanks again, Phil. Please let me know if I can ever return the favor somehow. I have server space with your name on it, buddy. Just say the word.

richard 11 years, 11 months ago

It's been great to read this thread and feel like Phil and Gavon and Frank and Patrick and myself and everyone else created something of value during the past eight years. There's a lot of great content left on this site, HTML-jacked as it may be. Ultimately the failure of Lawrence.com came down to a lack of support from the company that was so very proud of its many trophies. Not once in 8 years did I know an advertising rep on a first-name basis, mostly because they were rarely there for longer than a few months, and they certainly didn't hang out in our neck of the woods. Despite our pleas for distribution bins, Lawrence.com was always harder to find than The Pitch. Three full-time employees were always doing the work of 10 people. I could go on but at this point it sort of seems like a moot point. Lawrence.com has been the most promising endeavor of the World Company for many years now, but it's also been the most flawed.

That said, I'm grateful the World Company gave us a chance to do what we did. Nothing lasts forever, and it was good for most of while it lasted. I had the chance to dig into this town's vibrant culture in ways I never would have imagined. I met some amazing people who turned into friends and neighbors. I heard a lot of great music and was able to pass that on to other people. I'm sure Phil and Gavon are feeling a similar sense of melancholy.

Best of luck to you guys as you plan your next move, and thanks for all the good times. I hear Billy Q. Effinger needs a PR agent... -Gintowt

richard 11 years, 11 months ago

A couple additions to my previous comment... I don't want to lay the blame on the current brain trust at the World Co. Part of the problem was that the folks calling the shots kept changing, and it seemed like each ensuing boss had a different idea of what L.com should be. Also, upon further recollection, I did know some talented advertising folks like Chris who excelled at selling the product. It just seemed like they were never around long enough, and the "keep things awesome" hand of L.com never knew what the "keep things afloat" hand was doing. That's a challenge for most modern publications I imagine.

I do hope L.com endures, but I will always wonder what it could have been with a few more sea legs. Maybe it was exactly what it should have been for the past decade, and now it will be something else. Or maybe it missed a golden opportunity by losing touch with much of what made it cool in the first place (local culture, music, and otherwise untold stories).

Chris Tackett 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the shout out, Richard. I was wondering if you'd already forgotten me. :) Phil helped me land that job and I owe so much to him for giving me that chance. It was challenging and filled with many frustrations (as most ad sales jobs are), but it was a great experience.

Megan Green Stuke 11 years, 11 months ago

I think that Richard has hit the nail on the head. Lawrence.com offered a place to tell "otherwise untold stories" which, I think, is the important work of a space like this. It doesn't have to be ultra hipster or completely counter-culture, but to have a sort of subversive space outside of the mainstream media for the color of Lawrence and some of its lesser-known players to find purchase - that's what this site was, and should be, about.

Also, I want to publicly thank Phil Cauthon for being completely amazing to me over the last couple of years. I am forever in his debt.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 11 years, 11 months ago

There are a lot of us who are in Phil's debt. Without him, I could have never gone back to my hometown and flippantly called myself a "paid writer" ;) I'm still reeling at the thought that the assholes in power thought that letting Phil go was anything but the stupidest effing idea ever; but then, from what I've seen of the site over the past year or so, it seems that they may have crippled him so much with new policies and other bullshit that this may be an utter relief for him. I dunno, but damn. Gonna miss you, Phil, and thank you SO MUCH for everything you've done for me and the other folks here on what used to be the rockin'-est Island of Misfit Bloggers ever.

liberallibrarian 11 years, 11 months ago

A true shame. Whenever I would find myself truly enjoying an article, interview, etc, I would look to see who wrote it and it was nearly always Gavon. I find it a bizarre move and foresee Lawrence.com following in the footsteps of The Pitch, The Village Voice, etc (ie, they used to have a real heart- and now they just suck.) Good luck guys.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 11 years, 11 months ago

gvnobas--THAT'S THE FUCKING SPIRIT!!! Mean-spirited, sexist, profane, hateful--that's the kind of comment that damn near EVERY post on this site used to bring out!! All it lacked was poor grammar and blatant misspelling. It's been so long since L.com earned itself some righteous trolls that I'd almost forgotten how much fun you stupid asshats were. Sigh. I'm gonna miss this shit.

DOTDOT 11 years, 11 months ago

YEAH, well.

You know what? Fuck you people. I used to troll this place every day. The last couple years it's been bloggers (AKA "paid writers") that don't blog, and commenters that don't comment. This post is populated with everybody that hasn't supported this site for quite a while.

So while you cry your fake boo hoos about your World Company subsidized free shit, (purpotedly covering a music or art "scene" that doesn't exist; hasn't for years) remember it is you very people that abandoned this site and by, extension, its staff.

I wasn't gonna say it.

Anyway, I miss the Joel Mathis days.

alm77 11 years, 11 months ago

First of all, the commenters were driven away by the style change and what appeared to be less and less of the genius input of certain someone(s).

Secondly, support isn't from readership, it's from sponsors, which in the last days weren't being asked to support the site, and when they finally were asked in a last ditch effort, they preferred to place ads in the Deadwood Edition, which was then yanked because it was "too little too late".

Lastly, "scenes" are a matter of experience. There's still tons of great music and art in this town. You're probably just too old for it any more. ;-p

Megan Green Stuke 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey, L.com Contributors - Dotdot does make a good point.

So I am noticing a lot of "we're gone for good" business. And while I understand your impulse (I had the same one), I think the best bet is to keep going, and do it more and better than before.

Because if all the contributors quit, then that's a green light for the brass to just shut down the whole show and be all "See? Lawrence.com ran its course."

I mean, at the end of the day, there is still a good reason for a site like this to exist, in leiu of the regular paper.

So lets give Jon Niccum a leg up and do the best we can with what we've got. I'm sick for Phil and Gavon. I think it was a huge, giant, disastrous mistake (and just plain WRONG) to let them go.

But here we are.

Quit and go home? Doesn't really seem like the l.com thing to do.

Miles Bonny 11 years, 11 months ago

I like the shift these comments are causing...

so.. Ive ben reading from afar for awhile now. its taken 3 steps for me to loose interest.

1- I moved away from lawrence and can't accurately discuss it. 2- this new website design isnt my favorite. I dont like that it is blog based. Its heyday was the last design when the top story images were also well designed. Then the image designs werent as nice,, and then it changed to this.. and then... 3- this announcement. boo.

Jon wrote the first article that ever covered my music life. Props and thanks for that. This isn't about you specifically. This is about l.com.

After reading this post for the 1st time a few days ago.. I can feel L.com & pitch.com fading away after staff changes and poor web design choices. in my opinion. sad. I don't want it to all be left to bloggers. I like media staff.

ok. thanks, bye.

ps- I'll help if i can from afar. But KC has my attention now. peace and best wishes.

lindzow 11 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence just became 100% lamer. Good job, World Company. Maybe you should do a little more research before you make ridiculously devastating decisions. The town just lost half it's character thanks to you. To commemorate this decision why don't you install a second Starbucks in the basement office? That would be cool. And then Starbucks can hire Phil and Gavon back to serve strawberry & creme frappuccinos and maybe then they can write a witty pun or two on my cup.

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