Close Race Between Those Who Get Pink-Slip Phone Call on March 7, and Those Who Don't (But May Wish They Had)
Romeneseko's been lousy with posts the last few days that make you want to reach out to anyone working at a Media News-owned paper in California and give them a hug.
Item: If you work for the San Jose Mercury-News, you've been told to wait by the phone Friday morning. If no one calls to say you've been canned, then it's safe to head to work in the morning. Gotta love having that hang over your head all week.
No word yet on how much the newsroom will shrink, but bear in mind, at roughly 200, it already is down to half the bodies it had in 1999.
Yet, there is one happy camper amidst the Merc mess: that would be Susan Goldberg, now the editor at the Plain-Dealer in Cleveland, who left the top editiong job at the Merc last year. In a revealing interview with Cleveland magazine, she said: “I just wanted to get out of the whole situation. It was just very unhappy. I didn’t see where it was going to end.”
Unforutnately, those left at the Merc might get the opportunity to find out.
They could get a preview by looking to their corporate brethren in SoCal.
First stop, the San Fernando Valley, where Daily News editor Ron Kaye got all teary-eyed last week, as he told staffers that another 22 editorial positions were going bye-bye. That leaves just 100 of them to put out the paper.
Then came word that Lean Dean Singleton was essentially folding the Daily Breeze in Torrance and the Long Beach Press-Telegram into one operation. Both papers will exist, at least to readers, as separate entities (for now), but the P-T loses its copydesk to the Breeze, which itself cut nine newsroom positions.
So there are fewer people doing less. A lot less.
And as newspaper chieftains try to figure out a way to recapture at least some of the revenue that has been leaching out of their ledgers, still Singleton -- and others of his ilk -- believe that cutting the muscle and the heart out of the product you want people to buy is somehow a way to stanch the bleeding.
No easy answers, I realize, but the one Singleton keeps coming up with rings hollow.