Big Newspapers Continue Layoffs
The trend toward smaller staffs continues at even the biggest newspapers. Here are some stories from my Media feed that I missed in the last couple of days:
- New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. tells his stockholders’ meeting that he’s doing everything he can to turn around stock prices that make “none of us happy” but points out that the “new online marketplace has dramatically increased competition, expanded markets, lowered barriers of entry and reduced prices for hundreds of business sectors.” CEO Janet Robinson adds that, “Between staff reductions and relocating some departments to less expensive office space, we are now leasing out five floors that we had planned to use. This represents one-fifth of our space and, at current market rates, provides meaningful cash flow to our Company.” – Wall Street Journal
- “The Denver Post on Monday extended voluntary-buyout offers to about 90 newsroom workers in a move aimed at trimming costs amid an industrywide downturn. The Post will accept as many as 37 buyouts by early June. The paper currently has about 268 workers in its newsroom.” – Denver Post
- “[T]he [Los Angeles]Times offers a buyout to most employees and will take 150. Long-term employees can receive up to a year’s pay. An unstated number of positions, vacant and filled, are being eliminated.” – LA Observed
- The Chicago Tribune has “already achieved significant compensation savings through attrition” but forsees a “need to reduce actual staffing by up to 100 employees across all departments. These reductions will occur through a combination of involuntary position eliminations and a voluntary separation program.” – Poynter
The papers are slowly adapting to the Web and several of them are offsetting some of the revenue decline in their print editions via leveraging their online content. Unfortunately, the growing pains are brutal.
At the same time, putting out a physical newspaper remains profitable. I asked Politico managing editor Bill Nichols the other night why the startup even bothered with a paper, given that they launched mostly as a Web entity, and he said it made good business sense to do so because advertising in the print editions more than offsets the considerable expense of printing and distribution.