Owner: The McClatchy Co.
Date: April 8, 2008
Triangle Business Journal – by Chris Coletta
Monday, June 16, 2008 – 11:01 AM EDT
The parent company of The News & Observer will cut 10 percent of its total work force, or the equivalent of 1,400 full-time workers, to deal with falling advertising revenue.
The N&O is making an unspecified number of cuts and is notifying employees today. The office of publisher Orage Quarles III says the newspaper expects to release a statement about its cuts sometime Monday, after all affected employees have been notified.
Sacramento, Calif.-based McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI) said the cuts will come from both voluntary and involuntary layoffs as well as the elimination of unfilled positions.
“We have been transitioning steadily and successfully from a traditional newspaper company to an integrated multimedia company for some time,” McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. “The effects of the current national economic downturn — particularly in real estate, auto and employment advertising – make it essential that we move faster now to realign our workforce and make our operations more efficient. I’m sorry this requires the painful announcement we are making today, but we’re taking this action to help ensure a healthy future for our company.”
The company has been hit hard by a general downturn in the daily newspaper industry, which is losing advertising dollars to online classifieds and search engine traffic.
And those problems have been exacerbated by the economic downturn. McClatchy gets about a third of its revenue from California and Florida – states where the housing markets have been particularly weak, leading big advertisers to drastically cut spending.
In addition to The N&O, McClatchy owns The Charlotte Observer. Its biggest publications include The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee.
Some of those papers already have announced their staff reductions. The Charlotte Observer will cut 123 jobs, including 22 in the newsroom, a report on its Web site says. The Miami Herald will cut 250 jobs, and The Kansas City Star will cut 120.
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2008 12:12:37 -0400
This is to follow up the email that just went out from David Landsberg on the company’s buyout plans. I wanted to summarize the newsroom’s portion of this and outline a series of meetings we’ll have today. This is part of the reality of our business at the moment, and it cannot help but be an unsettling day. Our hope is to explain the plan clearly to both those who are and aren’t eligible, answer all questions and do our best to keep our focus on our work throughout the day.
The buyouts will be available to three areas of the newsroom where the least attrition has come the past year or so. They include a portion of the photography staff, a group of veteran writers from several departments, and members of the administration staff, including news assistants, executive assistants and wire room staff. The group represents about a fifth of the newsroom. It will not be available to areas where we’ve had more turnover or are dealing with production pressures, such as the copy desk, design staff, graphics, online and most of the sports and business departments.
As David stressed in his note, this is an optional buyout and the company is looking for a limited number of positions. In the newsroom, the total available slots will come to no more than a handful of positions in line with the 2 percent figure that is the aim across the company. Decisions on which applicants will be accepted will be made after considering the number who volunteer, the tenure of their position and where we can best handle vacancies, since these positions will not be replaced.
We’ll have a series of meetings today to talk through this plan with those eligible, all of whom will receive an email this morning with details about when and where they can attend information sessions. We’ll also hold a short staff meeting at 11:15 a.m. near the Continuous News Desk for all interested newsroom staff to talk through the plans and answer questions. While that meeting is taking place, we’ll hold a conference call available to anyone away from the office. (You can join that call by dialing 1-641-715-3200 and then using the conference code of 659127, plus #.) We’ll hold a second open staff meeting at 6 p.m. in the Knight Conference room to go over questions.
The information sessions for those eligible for buyouts will be at noon for members of the administrative staff; 1 p.m. for the photo staff; 2 and 4 p.m. for eligible reporters; and 5 p.m. for eligible staff members in Broward. Aside from the Broward session and photo session, which will be in the photo department, these information meetings will be in the Knight Conference Room.
Events like these raise questions that may come up after today. If you have questions or concerns of any kind, at any point, during the three weeks this plan is pending, please talk to me, Dave, Liza, Rick or Ali.