Friday, August 15, 2008

Summertime and the Living Isn't Easy at Gannett, Tribune

Teetering Newspaper Companies Keep Slashing Away

If you work at a newspaper, chances are you found that this summer, like no other, there will be blood.
Involuntary separation. Reductions in force. Hell, one editor even bothered to call them layoffs. Whatever.
The pace seemed to pick up again this week, as the Chicago Tribune hacked away at another 80 positions. But Gerry Kern, who still has that new editor smell about him, insists everything is gonna be all right.

"[T]he editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune stands at 480, the largest news organization in Chicago by a wide margin and one of the largest and most accomplished in the United States."

Maybe so, but that says less about the Tribune and more about the decimated newsrooms elsewhere in the region.
"This staff will achieve extraordinary work in the future as it has in the past. In about six weeks, we will launch a fresh, new Chicago Tribune that is designed to satisfy reader needs as never before."
So, what you are doing now stinks? Don't think that's what he meant, even if that's what he implies. In any event, giving readers less than what they get now is hardly a way to satisfy their "needs." Good luck with that.
As for Gannett, it's cutting its workforce nationwide by 3 percent. Over at one of my former haunts, the Journal-News in New York's northern suburbs, 12 people, including longtime reporter Mitch Broder and deputy managing editor Tony Davenport got the boot.
Regrettably, they are 12 among many, 600 in fact. Another 400 positions will be eliminated by either being left vacant or through attrition. Given the state of things at Gannett, though, it may be the best thing that ever happened to them. Good luck to them too.

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