Umass is looking for a "Director of Communications" to add to their luxurious stable of Public Relations folks, namely the Office of News & Media Relations (with a staff of 10).
This gaggle of course does not include Nancy Buffone, Director of "University Relations," with a staff of three; or John Kennedy, Vice Chancellor for University Relations.
UMass also has "Newswise" which seems to be just another name for News & Media Relations, although I notice former high-ranking editor at the (Springfield) Republican Larry Rivais now shows up as an "Associate News Editor" after retiring from the Republican on January 1st.
The retreat of journos into public relations jobs is certainly nothing new, but it has become worse over the past ten years or so with the decimation of traditional print media by that darn Internet.
In 1980 for instance Amherst hosted four weekly news publications, and now we're down to just one. And that one -- The Amherst Bulletin -- had a full time staff of 13 stationed in Amherst back in 1980 (not to mention 15-20 part-timers), and now they are down to just two.
In 1980 the ratio of PR flacks to journalists was 1.2 to one, but by 2010 had climbed to an alarming 4 to one. And they are better paid and better equipped than the beleaguered journos who try to cover their employer.
So who keeps a discerning eye and a flashlight on UMass, our flagship University and the town's #1 employer? Hello? Hello? Is anyone out there?
UPDATE 5:00 PM
Nancy Buffone's response regarding the "Director of Communications" position.