Skip to comments.Palm Beach Post To Cut Staff (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 03/06/2008 10:59:39 AM PST by abb
Got word that the Palm Beach Post jolted the newsroom yesterday with a bulletin-board announcement that it is cutting costs in the next few weeks, including eliminating an unknown number of newsroom staffers through "early retirement" packages.
Post management will also reduce the size of the newspaper by cutting pages, combining sections, and axing some sections altogether, according to a source.
It's another chilling sign of the severe contraction of the newspaper industry, and the method used to convey the potentially life-changing cuts only added to the jarring nature of the news. The announcement was made via letter-sized memos from the desk of Publisher Tom Giuffrida that were posted on bulletin boards around the newsroom.
"No newsroom meeting, no department meetings, no e-mail notice, no first-hand delivery whatsoever to newsroom employees," wrote the source. "How utterly classless is that?"
More on this later, I'm sure.
Stop The Presses!
Newspapers Are Downsizing And Are In Jeopardy Of Closing, Why You Should Care
By Robbie Woliver
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
In case you don’t know, Newsday is our competition.
They really shouldn’t be. They are a venerable mainstream daily, and we are an upstart alternative weekly. They have a staff of more than 2,000. Ours is closer to Brady Bunch numbers. Their multitude of reporters thoroughly cover local, national and international news, along with about five dozen assorted other main subjects; their stories stick for a day. All our reporters share a handful of Long Island-centric beats; our stories need to stick for a week. But we both vie for the same big “gotcha” headlines and we both fish in the same advertising stream, and that makes us competitors.
It was easy to gloat after we beat up Newsday in 2004 when we uncovered their now-infamous circulation scandal. They were doing something wrong, and we, as journalists, had the duty to right that wrong. We also had a bulldog investigative reporter at the time, Christopher Twarowski, who dove into the story like a cliff diver.
The truth is, we rejoice when we beat Newsday on any story, considering their resources versus ours-and we’ve had our share of exclusives. If they have an embarrassing typo, it makes the rounds in our office faster than viral photos of a drunk Lindsay Lohan on the Internet. When we make the error (and our worst one was actually about Newsday) we cower in embarrassment. But when it comes down to it, we respect what they do, and we’ve heard that the feeling is mutual.
So, you might understand why it was not easy at all for us to gloat when we heard that Newsday, which is owned by the long-suffering Tribune Company, had just eliminated another 120 jobs, about 5 percent of the daily’s workforce, after years of assorted cuts, defections and buyouts. Rumblings of their decimated, demoralized newsroom made it directly to our newsroom, often straight from the decimated or demoralized themselves. The news of the recent cuts, and the low morale at our competition, at first bolstered our own morale for one simple reason: Our budget had been cut the day before we heard the news. In our case, it involved the loss of one recently hired Web staffer and a big dig into our freelance budget. We were bemoaning our fate: We’re done. What more can our already overstretched reporting staff do?
Does the Greenhouse Defect Signal a Times Brain Drain?
The problem with buyouts is that you can’t choose who leaves. So when New York Times executive editor Bill Keller announced to the staff on February 28 that the paper would be mailing out buyout packages to every non-guild employee in the newsroom, it was hoped that some of the papers more redundant staffers might self-select. Theres so much deadwood at the paper, and everyone knows it, says one former Times reporter. There are editors who basically do nothing and writers who write 30 pieces a year.
Linda Greenhouse, the papers Pulitzer Prizewinning Supreme Court reporter, is not one of those. She has been tirelessly covering that beat for three decades, and although she has received her share of criticism (a speech she made at Harvard in 2006 slamming the Bush administration was perceived as crossing the line by the Times critics, some of its reporters, and even its public editor), she is widely considered to be in the handful of the paper’s elite reporters (The queen bee of Supreme Court reporters, the Columbia Journalism Review called her.)
“How utterly classless is that?”
Date: March 5, 2008 6:26:56 PM EST
To: NEWSPAPER GUILD
Subject: Guild UNION TIMES: Deadline to Volunteer for Buyout EXTENDED!!
Published By The Newspaper Guild of New York
For The New York Times Unit
Times Guild Unit Office Ext. 1030, 1751
Visit the New York Guilds Website at WWW.NYGUILD.ORG
March 5, 2008
DEADLINE TO VOLUNTEER
FOR BUYOUT EXTENDED!!
The Times informed the Guild late Tuesday afternoon they may not have enough volunteers from the Newsroom to achieve the staff reductions announced last month. Terry Hayes, V.P. of Labor Relations, told the Guild that The Times may need to resort to involuntary layoffs and that there is a possibility some of those layoffs would be done out of seniority order.
Bill OMeara, President of The Newspaper Guild of New York, requested the Times extend the deadline for volunteers to apply for a buyout in the hope enough people would step forward and avoid the need for an involuntary layoff.
The Times has agreed to extend the deadline for employees to volunteer for a buyout. All requests for a voluntary buyout must be submitted by 2:00 PM EST Friday, March 7, 2008.
The long goodbye
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I’m going to miss my newspaper.
We’ve been together a long time. I care about it. I need it.
I’m one of the people whom the godfather of medium and message Marshall McLuhan was talking about when he said: “People don’t read newspapers. They slip into them like a warm bath.”
I have been watching newspapers like you watch a cherished friend who has a slow debilitating illness. You wonder: Even if they survive, will they ever be the same?
The signs are not encouraging.
It’s not that the media companies are speeding toward the edge of a cliff. On any given day, 51 million people buy a paper, and 124 million read one. Just for perspective, the Giants and Patriots set a Super Bowl record with an audience of 97.5 million. Profit margins are still in the high teens, and newspapers are touting their success in moving readers online.
This is not an industry that is going to go the way of carbon paper and rotary phones. It’s worse than that. It’s an industry with a wasting disease that will rob us of essential benefits that we have forgotten how to appreciate.
Sometimes flawed, they are more often magnificent. They are the place where lies, distortions and manipulations are dragged into the town square, even - as in the early cheerleading for invasion of Iraq - if it takes awhile to get there.
RIP Mercury News
At the risk of offending my friends and former colleagues still at the San Jose Mercury News, Im writing its obituary today. There will be more buyouts and layoffs this week, the fourth round of en-masse departures in the last few years. Sadly, I fear the paper will not recover.
I worked at the Merc for 11 years, and for about half that time we were a helluva little paper. We competed aggressively with the San Francisco Chronicle, we wrote big stories with sophistication, had a kick-ass state capital bureau, and for a time, we covered Silicon Valley and technology like no one else. A lot of really talented people moved through Ridder Park Drive in the decade I was there. Thats not to say we reporters didnt bitch and moan about where we worked. We did, a lot. But looking back, we didnt see how good we had it.
Now? Heres whats going to happen:
Managers from parent company Media News will continue to downsize the editorial staff until its down to several dozen people. (Its at about 200 FTEs now, and will be 170 after Friday. New publisher Mac Tully has told the staff that downsizing could continue for the next 18-24 months.) Theyll consolidate the copy and design desks with their other Bay Area papers. Theyll work aggressively to get rid of union representation so they can bring salaries and benefits down to the substandard wages they are paying at their non-union papers. That will drive away whatever senior reporters are left, except those who are close to retirement (most of them are gone already) or who cannot find work elsewhere. And it will turn the paper into a waystation for young reporters looking to hone their skills and pad their resumes until something better comes along (being a mid-tier paper, that was already the case to some degree). The quality of the product will suffer.
Meanwhile, there will be little new investment in the online product, unless it can be done on the cheap or involves vendors who can promise immediate financial returns. The online staff will continue to be overworked. Innovation and risk-taking will suffer.
More good news to report..NYT today DOWN over $1.00/share..6%..
Nothing like early retirement in sunny Floriduh!
To coin a phrase, if the newsies have lost Palm Beach, they’ve lost America!
It is now almost the middle of March. The first quarter is almost over. January’s revenue numbers were abysmal and I suspect February’s numbers are bad, too. Otherwise, we would have heard about it.
What all the braying and moaning and wailing in these stories is telling us is that newsies have finally realized they’re not long for this world.
Had they been on our Dinosaur Media DeathWatch ping list, they could have seen this coming two years ago.
Another bit of news...
Herald-Leader to Shut Down Internal Ad Design
Will outsource jobs overseas
by Tom Martin
March 07, 2008
The Lexington Herald-Leader said today it is shutting down its internal advertising design operations in favor of outsourcing the work to an Illinois company with design centers in India and the Philippines.
“Like dozens of other newspapers around the country, and after a lengthy, careful review, we have decided to outsource the majority of our live ad design and production to the advertising firm, Affinity Express,” said publisher Tim Kelly.
“Nobody is being laid off today,” he added. “That won’t be determined for several months. The affected employees will be applying for other jobs that are open in the Advertising division. Those who do not get them may be offered a comprehensive severance package. One of the employees potentially impacted already was approved for an open position earlier this week.”
Thanks for the post. In a rather gloomy day, a little ray of sunshine.
“It is pervasive. We’ll deal with George W. Bush’s legacy another time.
So, everyone is suffering. Why should you care about a bunch of whiny newspaper people and the Fourth Estate as a whole?”
I don’t care about your whiny butts.
Frankly, I’d rather deal with your legacy, starting right now. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!! FREAKING LIBERAL IDIOTS, WHO THINK YOU RULE THE WORLD!! HA HA HA HA HA!!!
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