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IBM: Trinity’s Midlands shake-up to save 30 per cent

December 24th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

Trinity Mirror’s planned restructuring of its Midlands titles is part of an attempt to reduce editorial and advertising costs by 30 per cent in the region, according to this release from IBM.

“The company viewed short-term cost-cutting to be a necessary but not sufficient response to an industry experiencing permanent change. In partnership with IBM, Trinity Mirror is undergoing a major shake-up, transforming its editorial and advertising processes, and the technology it deploys, to become a leaner, smarter publishing business with a clear vision for future growth,” said IBM in the release.

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Covering media job cuts – staff facing redundancy speak online

December 16th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

Having set up a timeline dedicated to reporting on the sweeping job cuts affecting both senior and junior journalists alike, a trend is emerging for laid-off staff to use blogs, Twitter and other online sites and tools to capture their redundancy.

Reports such as Martin Gee’s set of Flickr images from his last day at the San Jose Mercury give a highly individual picture of how these cuts are being felt on a personal level beyond the redundancy figures and prediction stats.

In the summer, the Columbia Journalism Review started its ‘Parting Thoughts’ series, posting responses from journalists leaving the industry or facing redundancy.

At the Gannett Blog, former Gannett editor Jim Hopkins crowdsourced a blogpost of lay-offs by the publisher, listed by newspaper area – at time of writing redundancies at 72 of Gannett’s 85 US titles affected by the company’s latest round of job cuts were accounted for in Hopkins’ post.

In an open blog post last week, Ryan Carson, co-founder of web application design and events agency Carsonified, used the company’s blog to share his thoughts about staff cuts and give the reasons for making them.

Carson went on to give tips for companies looking to recession-proof their business (points that some commenters on the post argue are common sense no matter what the economic situation).

The Spokesman-Review has used its Daily Briefing blog to cover staff leaving in an equally personal and open way. News of senior staff exiting the paper, such as editor Steve Smith and assistant managing editor Carla Savalli, was broken on the blog and posts have also been penned by outgoing journalists, including Thuy Dzuong:

“Folks, it’s been fun but The layoff list for non-managers has been finalized, and I’m on it.”

Last week Silicon Alley Insider built a ‘real time’-style page to cover lay-offs at parent company Yahoo, updating it as new info came in.

(UPDATE – The Rocky Mountain News has launched iwantmyrocky.com to canvas support for the newspaper)

Despite the sad circumstances, the way in which journalists and media workers are facing redundancy in these examples shows a real engagement with online tools. A personal picture of what is happening to the industry is being documented for future reference by these staff members expressing themselves so openly (and perhaps significantly being ‘allowed’ to express themselves by their past/present employers).

What is more, while they may not hold the answers to the problems currently faced by the media industry, they shed light on how these issues are perceived and felt on the frontline. Something which employers should read and learn from.

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WashingtonCityPaper.com: ‘An advance copy of the Washington Post’s reorganization plan’

The WashingtonCityPaper shares ‘an advance copy of the Washington Post’s reorganization plan’.

The site, ‘forever a friend to local media institutions’, has announced it is ‘hereby stepping in and taking charge’.

“We’ve taken the time to interview key media strategists, examine the Post’s assets, and knit together a strategic plan for the ages.

“It’s all written up in corporatese, sans copyright, so the Post can just cut, paste, send to ALL, and gauge the reaction on FishBowlDC.

“It’s even in memo format, and it comes with ‘off the record’ boxes that will help Post employees sort through the mumbo-jumbo.”

Read, and enjoy.

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Real-time job cuts with a live Yhoo from Silicon Alley Insider

December 10th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Online Journalism

Silicon Alley Insider, who admit they could be included in a downsize, have this handy feature for tracking the Yahoo job cuts as they happen.

It’s a live y’hoo to Yahoo employees, as more announcments are made. It brings together blog posts, Tweets and memos in the same way they covered the AOL layoffs last year.

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US-based Tribune files for bankruptcy but continues operating

December 8th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism, Newspapers

More on this tomorrow, but just to link today’s (Monday) news that the Tribune Co. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protectionas reported here by the group’s own newspaper the LA Times, as well as numerous other news sources. The group also owns KTLA Channel 5, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun as well as nine other newspapers and 22 other television and radio stations across the country. 

The group’s chief executive Sam Zell said in a statement (via CNNmoney.co.uk):

“Factors beyond our control have created a perfect storm – a precipitous decline in revenue and a tough economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt.” 

“We believe that this restructuring will bring the level of our debt in line with current economic realities, and will take pressure off our operations.” 

The groups says it is able to sustain operations while it restructures. Here, Editor & Publisher looks at concerns inside the newsroom.

Excerpts from Sam Zell’s memo can be read here.

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Redundancy round-up: 50 jobs to go at the Telegraph and 78 at Trinity Mirror

November 27th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

A day that saw plenty of job cut announcements. Here’s the roundup for this evening and Journalism.co.uk will update tomorrow.

  • Trinity Mirror: 78 jobs to go as reported at Press Gazette and Hold the Front Page. Press Gazette reported that a restructure will see journalists divided into four centralised multimedia divisions:

“The publisher has today entered into a consultation period with staff and said it envisaged 59 editorial jobs would be cut. It said it was committed to voluntary redundancies where possible.

“The bulk of the job losses will come in Liverpool, where the 175-strong editorial team will be cut to 132 and the Liverpool Daily Post will scrap its Saturday edition.”

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Trinity Mirror pay freeze – Sly Bailey’s email to staff

November 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Jobs, Newspapers

Trinity Mirror has implemented a company-wide pay freeze affecting all staff (that’s journalists and non-journalists employed by the publisher).

Below is the email sent by chief executive Sly Bailey to staff:

Company Announcement

Please follow the link to see the letter being sent today to all staff.
19 November 2008

Dear Colleague

We have all seen the severe impact of the economic downturn reported in the media on a daily basis.  Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any sign of an improvement for the foreseeable future and there are indications that it could get worse before it gets better.  What is clear is that the gravity of the challenge facing our business is unlike anything we have seen before.

As a consequence of this economic climate, all parts of Trinity Mirror have seen revenues come under severe pressure as advertisers have significantly reduced their spending.  In addition, our readers are also looking to curtail their spending with a consequential impact on our circulation revenues.

This in turn is affecting our financial performance, and in particular the cash generated by the business.  As previously communicated to you and the financial community, we anticipate that our profits will fall in 2008, with a further decline in 2009. Whilst we expect to remain profitable going forward, the fall in cash generated will adversely impact our ability to comfortably fund ongoing commitments such as interest payments on our borrowings, taxes, investment in our business (capital expenditure) and pension scheme funding.  To partially address the constraints on cash we have already cancelled the share buy back and have halved the 2008 interim dividend paid to shareholders. The final dividend will also be reviewed by the Board in February.

With our revenues considerably reduced, our priority has to be to safeguard the future of the Group.  To do this we have done much already to reduce costs in many ways.  So far this year, sadly, this has involved the announcement of almost 1200 job losses across the Group.  We have also had to announce the closure of 44 of our titles, 40 offices and our print plant in Liverpool. We do want to do all we can to minimise any further job losses.

I can also confirm now that our performance has been such that we will not be paying any bonuses relating to 2008. This goes for me; the Executive Committee and virtually all other managers.

Nevertheless we need to take further steps to protect the future of our businesses.  I have therefore decided not to hold a pay review for anyone in Trinity Mirror during 2009.  This will apply to me, the Board, all management and employees of the Group.

We all hope that the economic climate improves in 2009 and, whether it does or doesn’t, I know we will all perform to the best of our abilities. To recognise this, a special 2009-only incentive scheme will be introduced.

In January, once we have a clearer idea of trading going into 2009, the Board will agree a target for this scheme.  I can tell you that this target will be lower than the target set for profit sharing in previous years.  The scheme is designed so that it could pay up to £1,000 to each employee (before tax) and will apply to all employees across the Group (see note below). Further details of the scheme will be communicated to you in January.

I appreciate that the times we find ourselves in are some of the hardest in living memory.  I ask for your support so that we can manage our way through it and ensure the long term survival of our business.

Yours sincerely

Sly Bailey

Note:

All permanent staff will participate in the bonus scheme with the following exceptions:

Those not in receipt of contractual pay (i.e. casuals, or unauthorised absence).

Staff that have taken part in industrial action during 2009 will not be entitled to any payment.

In respect of starters and leavers:

New starters may participate and will receive payment on a prorate basis for full months’ service during 2009.

Employees who retire or leave under redundancy will receive payment on a pro rata basis for full month’s service during 2009.  This will still only be paid after auditors approval of the final results.

Staff who resign their employment before end February 2010 (the date of the scheme profit calculation) will not be entitled to any payout.

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NUJ says scale of Indy job cuts are a ‘massive shock’

November 18th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Newspapers

Hardly a surprising reaction but here’s what the National Union of Journalists has said, in reaction to the news that 90 jobs will be cut at the Independent, the majority of which are editorial positions:

“The scale of today’s announcement will have come as a massive shock to our members at the Independent,”  the NUJ’s Head of Publishing Barry Fitzpatrick said.

“Journalists’ confidence in management at the moment is shaky at best, and far below what we would expect when entering into negotiations over any major restructuring.

“The public boardroom disputes have done little to reassure staff or readers concerned about the future of the titles.

“We need to see clear guarantees that there will be no compulsory redundancies. We will also be looking for plans from management as to how the health and safety of staff who remain will be protected.

“Our members already complain about their workloads and, as the company attempts to produce quality papers on just three quarters of the staff, the company has a duty of care to protect its employees from work related stress and we will hold them to account for their responsibility,” Fitzpatrick said in an NUJ statement released this afternoon.

The NUJ will meet the company on Thursday November 20.

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Press Gazette: 20-30 redundancies announced at Incisive, including Investment Week editor

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs, Magazines

Incisive Media has completed its redundancy consultation, reports Press Gazette. Between 20 and 30 editorial jobs will be cut – about half the number initially suggested.

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paidContent.org: CondeNet cuts staff across all departments

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs

US digital arm of Conde Nast is to make job cuts ‘across the board’ to prepare for further downturn in the advertising market.

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