RAGBRAI Organizers Split from Register

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by cyowan, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. CYdTracked

    CYdTracked Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2006
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    That letter is pretty damning about the internal thinking of the Rag with how they handled the Carson King mess. I'm sorry but whatever "Leadership and our PR professionals" the DMR took advice and direction from should be fired. The publicity may be dying down finally but the damage their created and the damage they created afterwards with their stubborn stance of not apologizing or admitting their mistake they probably will never fully recover from. I would love to know just how many subscribers and advertisers they lost over it because I'm sure it was significant. They obviously will never reveal it but based on the blowback they got you can assume they felt the hit financially and will going forward as they try to recover from it.

    The talking points about freedom of speech and how he was essentially pointing out their hypocrisy while they were trying to silence him as well is pretty damning for a business that is based off of freedom of speech and the press.
     
  2. jbindm

    jbindm Well-Known Member

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    Could be. It might have been that this was quietly in the works for awhiland the Carson king story just gave them a convenient reason to bail.

    But...while their website is functional it does have a sort of thrown-together feel to it. Which supports the notion that the Carson King story hit, they made their decision to split as a result of that, and they hastily put together a barebones site with limited 2020 ride info.

    I'm wondering who the financial backers are for the new ride. Surely they wouldn't have launched this without investors/sponsors already locked in.
     
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  3. deadeyededric

    deadeyededric Well-Known Member

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    In this case, those two things are exactly the same imo. They don't match up with his values because he is on the Carson King train. Can he name one other thing about the rag that goes against his values other than this issue? Probably not.
     
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  4. jbindm

    jbindm Well-Known Member

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    Then go read something else. It's an interesting story about a pretty big Iowa event.
     
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  5. snowcraig2.0

    snowcraig2.0 Well-Known Member

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    I'm so triggered right now OMG
     
  6. derpyherky

    derpyherky Active Member

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    Damn, these sneaky Russians are good!
     
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  7. CycloneJL

    CycloneJL Member

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    He posted a longer response on his personal Facebook page:

    10/25/2019
    Dear RAGBRAI Nation-
    This is a bittersweet day for me and my team. Today, your RAGBRAI Director for the past 16 years and the entire RAGBRAI staff has resigned.
    RAGBRAI’s parent companies (Des Moines Register & Gannett/USA Today) claim “we will uphold First Amendment principles”, but they refused to offer me that same opportunity to openly speak to the RAGBRAI Nation and answer the hundreds of passionate questions asked about the future of RAGBRAI following the Des Moines Register’s handling of the Carson King story.
    I have always been totally transparent with the RAGBRAI Nation and have earned their trust since my first day in 2003. In these past few weeks, my efforts to communicate with our loyal riders has been consistently blocked as it did not mesh with the company’s PR narrative to spin the Carson King embarrassment. There are hundreds of questions that have been left unanswered in attempted to save face for the Register, without regard to how it effects RAGBRAI.
    On September 24th, the backlash towards the Des Moines Register started when a reporter dug up an improper tweet that Carson King made when he was just 16 years old. The firestorm was mainly targeted at the Register but was bleeding over to RAGBRAI as well. I received the directive via email that evening from the Des Moines Register’s editor Carol Hunter:

    You may be asked about our reporting practices and our decision to publish this information. I encourage you to refer readers to my statement.

    Her statement

    I let Carol know that next morning that if I put out that RAGBRAI backs your statement, that would be the beginning of the end of RAGBRAI.

    I immediately wanted to make a statement letting the RAGBRAI faithful know that the Des Moines Register does not speak for RAGBRAI. I was told I had to run everything through a New York PR Firm that was brought in to help manage the exploding crisis.
    For the first time in 16 years, the RAGBRAI director and staff was no longer calling the shots. Senior leadership and a PR team would approve public statements.
    I let my bosses know that RAGBRAI’s future would be in jeopardy if we just backed statements made by the Register- that this was just journalists doing their jobs. I wanted to make a large donation through RAGBRAI to show support of Carson King and his fundraising efforts and let riders know that RAGBRAI leadership is autonomous from the Des Moines Register’s leadership. The donation amount was approved, as long as RAGBRAI raised it through future RAGBRAI events. The statement I prepared however was gutted by the PR team from New York. Important statements like: “RAGBRAI doesn’t speak for the Des Moines Register and the Des Moines Register doesn’t speak for RAGBRAI” and “I would just like to make crystal clear that RAGBRAI loves the heart of Carson King! He is “Iowa Nice” personified!” and “#StandWithCarson” were all removed. Everything that they removed was factual.
    On Friday, September 27 - I posted in social media that RAGBRAI would pledge $50,000 towards the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital along with a sanitized statement about supporting Carson’s efforts.
    I watched the reactions from RAGBRAIers all over the world that both praised the donation but also had serious questions about the motives behind it. The big questions and comments were:
    • Did the Register make RAGBRAI give a donation?
    • How much of my entry fees this year will go to the Register?
    • Can you change the name of RAGBRAI? (Remove the R?)
    • How does RAGBRAI feel about Carson King?
    About half of the social posts as well as emails and phone call to me were questioning these important things and wanted them cleared up before registration opened.
    There were two facebook posts from some of my good friends that struck a nerve with me.
    1) Retired Iowa State Patrol Trooper Doug Cutts, the singing trooper with Mr. Microphone posted #BoycottDesMoinesRegister and #BoycottRAGBRAI. He has always been a huge fan of RAGBRAI standing at intersections over his career.

    2) Carla Leyen posted, “Thank you TJ for focusing on the right thing - THE KIDS, when the editors at your employer could/would not. As the grandparent of one of those kids so intimately affected by Stead Hospital this helps me in my decision whether or not to continue my 2-1/2 decade RAGBRAI tradition. TJ - a HUGE thank you from my family for wading into this volatile situation with a great gesture!!”

    Carla’s brother Steve VanDeest was wheelchair bound most of his adult life, but rode RAGBRAI by his sister Carla pedaling a modified tandem with Steve pedaling with his shoulders. They were so inspirational. The family asked me to speak at Steve’s funeral when Steve passed a few years ago.

    I could not possibly respond to either of these great friends without speaking honestly from the heart.
    I asked my bosses to let me issue a public statement answering the hundreds of questions that hung like a cloud over this upcoming RAGBRAI. I copied 50 social media posts showing that RAGBRAIers had questions that we needed to answer.
    After a few days of waiting, the PR professionals start asking if the controversy was starting to die down? If lots of questions were still flowing in? I replied that I still had hundreds of unanswered questions that people are awaiting my response.
    I was then informed. “Leadership and our PR professionals are in agreement that we don’t want to issue any more public statements on this matter -- it is largely dying down publicly, and they see no advantage to re-igniting it at this point.” And then added, “glad to work with you on talking points for interviews regarding RAGBRAI if the Carson King situation comes up.”
    So after 16 great years of service, I was effectively hushed and offered talking points to deal with a mess that had nothing to do with RAGBRAI!
    I can no longer be an effective leader when my principles are compromised by the leadership of Gannett/Des Moines Register. If we balked this time, I couldn’t image any future thoughts of making decisions in the best interest of YOU the riders and the great state of Iowa.
    So, the entire RAGBRAI staff resigned today.
    I promised my mentor Jim (Greenie) Green that I would maintain this great ride across Iowa. I also made that pledge to the late wagonmaster Don Benson and 89-year-old co-founder John Karras.
    I would hate to ruin the summer enjoyment for people that have trusted our leadership for the past 16 years… so the staff that just resigned from RAGBRAI will host the newly created IOWA’S RIDE on July 19-25, 2020 across Northern Iowa. The best part is that ALL of the PROCEEDS will go to IOWA CHARITIES, including the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital! Complete details are available at www.iowasride.com and registration is now open! We will announce the route in November.
    If you want to support this effort, the best thing that you can do is register today at www.iowasride.com. We are inspired by Carson King to do the right thing and believe the RAGBRAI Nation will too.
    Thank you for trusting us with the GREAT RIDE!
    Sincerely,

    TJ Juskiewicz
    RAGBRAI Director
     
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  8. Gunnerclone

    Gunnerclone Well-Known Member

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    The Des Moines Examiner!
     
  9. BCClone

    BCClone Well-Known Member

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    I pick the one with the hottest women called the great drunken bike ride and orgy.
     
  10. CycloneErik

    CycloneErik Well-Known Member

    Jan 31, 2008
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    This. It won't be tremendously difficult for them to start up with their experience and contacts.
     
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  11. Al_4_State

    Al_4_State Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2006
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    Our group is already decided on doing TJ’s event.

    That didn’t take long.
     
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  12. Clonefan32

    Clonefan32 Well-Known Member

    Nov 19, 2008
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    I'm still not understanding how you can cancel yourself...

    To me, "Cancel Culture" would be a group getting together to boycott RAGBRAI in response to the Carson King thing. Here, this is an employee exercising his own free will to not work for an employer anymore.
     
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  13. keepngoal

    keepngoal Jobless Jerk
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    Jun 20, 2006
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    gonna be interesting if there are non-compete or NDAs. This could be messy.
     
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  14. IASTATE07

    IASTATE07 Well-Known Member
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    The people who use the term "snowflake" generally are the snowflake.
     
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  15. jbindm

    jbindm Well-Known Member

    Dec 2, 2010
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    Where does the money come from, though? Has Juskiewicz mentioned in any of his statements who is cutting the checks for planning and organizing?
     
  16. jsb

    jsb Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2008
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    I'm so tired of the Carson King story.
     
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  17. jbindm

    jbindm Well-Known Member

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    LOL, so is the Register.
     
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  18. Gunnerclone

    Gunnerclone Well-Known Member

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    They are ride organizing company right? They do other things besides RAGBRAI.
     
  19. FinalFourCy

    FinalFourCy Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2017
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    Can’t blame the guy for not wanting to work for or with DMR management. The Carson King story and the blundering response are likely one of many instances to lead to this.
     
  20. snowcraig2.0

    snowcraig2.0 Well-Known Member

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    Boycott.
     

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