Tag Archives: Layoffs

Deal With the Devil

14 Dec

{Cleveland Plain Dealer union members ratify new agreement, by Julie Moos on Poynter.org, Dec. 11, 2012}

IN THE WAKE of owners of the Cleveland Plain Dealer announcing plans to cut 58 journalists — one-third of the newsroom — in 2013, Guild members approved a new six-year contract Dec. 11.

That contract provides for 8 percent wage increases for workers remaining after the layoffs, partially offsetting the 12 percent pay cut they agreed to in 2009.

The contract allows the company to lay off five people in 2014, but protects workers from layoffs for the rest of the contract’s term.

The Guild also agreed to let non-Guild workers be hired for the Plain Dealer’s website, cleveland.com.

In the long-run, this gives Advance greater latitude to hire less experienced journalists for less pay with different skills for its website, and then use that material in its print product. The staff cuts save money, not reduced print days, according to an analysis done by Rick Edmonds.

Harlan Spector, chairman of the Plain Dealer’s unit of the Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild, said,

“A big part of that is we’ve given them some language that could, over the years, really diminish our numbers. It gives them the ability to put cheap content in the paper.”

Spector calls the new agreement “a bitter pill but it beats the alternative.” That alternative was the company’s announcement that without the new agreement, it would cut half the staff next year.

Cleveland Plain Dealer to Slash Newsroom Staff by One-Third

5 Dec

Plain Dealer

OWNERS OF THE Cleveland Plain Dealer have announced plans to gut the newsroom staff by one-third — 58 positions from a newsroom of 168. The number of days the paper is published might be cut, too.

If that playbook sounds familiar, it should — the owner is Advance Publications, the same outfit that laid off some 600 people at the New Orleans Times Picayune and its three papers in Alabama, and ended daily publication.

[After Advance announced that plan, Digital First CEO John Paton wrote “In Defense of the Times-Picayune.”]

Staff at the Plain Dealer knew cuts were coming and started a “Save the Plain Dealer” campaign | Facebook page. There also is an online petition at change.org.

In a post on the Facebook page, organizers of the campaign say:

Friends and supporters, we wanted to let you know that The Plain Dealer has told the Guild it plans to reduce the number of Guild members in the newsroom to 110 next year. Guild members are the heart of the paper. They report, photograph, copyedit, design, draw, create graphics, archive information, edit and so much more. The reductions, which represent about 1/3 of our membership, would be devastating to the news-gathering operation.

One a Day Keeps Ignorance at Bay

Christine Haughney wrote a good piece about the Plain Dealer’s situation in the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, including this hoppy tidbit:

Among the more lively efforts to stave off a reduction in the print schedule is a “Save The Plain Dealer” party planned for Thursday night at the Market Garden Brewery and Distillery. The brewery is releasing a new beer, 7-Day Lager, which it says is “best when enjoyed daily, because one a day keeps ignorance at bay.”

The Empty Copy Desk

23 May

From John E. McIntyre’s “You Don’t Say” column in the Baltimore Sun, May 23, 2012:

Gregory Moore, the editor of the Denver Post, is, I believe, a good man grappling with a difficult challenge. The Post, as described in an article at Poynter.org by Steve Myers, is essentially eliminating its copy desk. Eleven are going or gone, a couple have been reassigned to other duties, and the nine survivors become assistant editors assigned to the various newsroom departments.

When explanations of these and similar changes are made, there is talk of moving away from “assembly-line editing” and “outmoded nineteenth-century industrial processes” to some bold, modern, fresh, immediate journalism that removes all those unnecessary “touches” between the writer and the reader.

This is, of course, cant. The brutal facts are these: Terrified by declines in revenue, newspapers are shedding employees to save money. They are attempting to keep as many reporters as possible to generate content, and they are gambling that you will tolerate shoddier work.

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Denver Post, Contra Costa Times Revamp Story Editing With Fewer Copy Editors

23 May

From Poynter.org, May 23, 2012:

In some ways, the Denver Post and Contra Costa Times’ cutbacks in copyediting, announced last month and now final, is a common story these days. Less common are the other changes they’re making in how they handle print stories.

The Denver Post is eliminating its copy desk and moving away from an assembly-line editing process. Instead, reporters and editors on each desk will take stories from reporting to publishing, online and in print.

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Guild Statement On Newsroom Layoffs

30 Apr

WE AT THE DENVER NEWSPAPER GUILD consider ourselves partners with Denver Post management in the effort to position the newsroom and the company to thrive in the new media environment. However, we disagree in the strongest possible terms with the company’s decision to lay off two-thirds of the paper’s copy editors. We feel it is a shortsighted cost-cutting measure that will irreparably damage The Denver Post.

A news organization serves a vital public role and must be viewed through a more complex lens than one that reduces the operation to just a bottom-line figure. For generations, professional editors represented by the Guild have helped make The Denver Post a trusted news source. This decision by the company could very well erode that hard-earned trust.

The media landscape continues to shift as new technologies demand new business strategies, but one thing must remain constant during this transition period: credibility. We understand the company needs flexibility to make decisions quickly, and we have afforded the company that flexibility with a labor agreement that allows the company to change newsroom operations and reduce the workforce. However, the Guild has serious doubts that the decision by management to slash the ranks of copy editors will result in a more efficient newsgathering process. Instead, we believe it will result in a loss of credibility as more mistakes and errors appear in print and online.

The Denver Post’s reputation is at stake.

The Guild will continue to advocate on behalf of not only Denver Post staff, but Denver Post readers.

Thomas McKay
Sara Burnett
Kieran Nicholson
Jim Ludvik
Kyle Wagner
Kevin Hamm
Tony Mulligan

More Layoffs Hit The Denver Post

26 Mar

ON MARCH 23, Denver Post management announced the elimination of 11 more positions.

Five metro home delivery districts will be eliminated resulting in the layoff of five district managers and five assistant district managers. The two-week window for volunteers in those positions to resign or retire with severance ends April 6

The effective dates of voluntary resignations or layoffs will be spread out. They will occur on April 23, May 21 and June 18 as the districts are eliminated.

The company also announced it is eliminating the Viva photographer position.

Newsroom Layoffs At The Denver Post

21 Mar

AS YOU KNOW, yesterday three people in the newsroom were laid off. The layoffs were a business decision made by Denver Post management and were conducted according to the contract. Also, 11 people have been laid off in non-newsroom positions over the last couple of weeks, and more layoffs are expected there.

We wish them all the best.

The last layoffs in the newsroom were conducted in the early 1980s.

If you have questions, please talk to a Guild representative.

Michael Roberts at Westword wrote a piece on it — Penny Parker, Mike Littwin laid off at Denver Post: More changes coming? — and ColoradoPols.com has More Layoffs Hit Declining Denver Post. Bear in mind that neither source has any insight into Denver Post management decisions.

Leave a comment below, if you’d like.

Update: A fourth person, part time copy editor Lorrie Guttman, was laid off yesterday as well.