About Paper Cuts
What is Paper Cuts?
Paper Cuts tracks U.S. newspaper layoffs and buyouts. The total does not include jobs cut through attrition — a fancy way of saying open positions were eliminated. It does include all newspaper jobs, from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper.
Who are you?
How rude; I’m sorry. I’m Erica Smith. I’m a journalist, a designer, a researcher, a social media enthusiast. I love breaking news alerts, I spend too much time online, and I eat M&Ms in Roy G Biv order.
Do you work for a newspaper?
I did. I left the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in April 2012. I was not laid off, although I have tracked several rounds of layoffs at the Post-Dispatch; I left voluntarily and now work at Infuz, a digital marketing agency. On the newspaper side of things, I also have worked at The Times of Northwest Indiana and the News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. You should know that all opinions in this blog (or any other blog I own) are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else — you can only blame me.
How did this project get started?
On May 31, 2007, Editor & Publisher ran a special report: As cuts trim news pages and newsrooms — what gets lost? (The complete article no longer exists online.) After reading that report and talking about it with other journalists, I was curious to know how many layoffs and buyouts there were, but couldn’t find a total anywhere. So I started a list, which evolved into this website on April 9, 2008.
Where do you get layoff information?
Some information comes from newspaper or trade publication stories. Some comes from blogs. Some from people like you. I guarantee anonymity: Too many people fear retribution from newspaper management, so all submitted tips will be marked “Paper Cuts tip.” I will not release names associated with tips. Many times, newspapers and/or their parent companies do not release how many employees have been laid off — that’s where I really need your help. Layoff information, story links and tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I send ‘old’ information?
Absolutely. I’m still adding and trying to update layoffs from 2008. I add posts as soon as I get information, then update it as more information becomes available. I count layoffs according to when they went into effect. If layoffs were announced in December 2007, but employees weren’t laid off until January 2009, then I count that toward the 2009 total.
What about 2007?
Sure, I’ll add 2007 layoffs too. Although I started the project mid-year, so I doubt that 2007 will ever be a complete report.
Several posts are marked ‘unknown.’ Why?
Those are newspapers that I do not have layoff numbers for. Sometimes the information is not released. Sometimes numbers are released for a chain, but not individual papers. (I try to sort everything out by newspaper.) Here are the “unknown” posts — any help filling in the blanks is very much appreciated. Here’s that email address again: email@example.com.
Does that mean the total isn’t … the total?
It does. It means that the actual number of people who have been laid off is higher than what I have listed. That’s why there is a plus sign after the “total” number.
Well that’s depressing.
Trust me — I know.
So why do you do this?
Well, it started out as curiosity. Now former co-workers, friends and other journalists and newspaper employees I know are being laid off. So, as cheesy as it sounds, I do the project for them and for the working journalists.
How often do you update Paper Cuts?
The answer used to be “daily.” In 2012, I took a little time off from the site, and it’s been a struggle to catch back up. The site has fallen into disrepair. I have the best of intentions to catch up again, though, and continue with this project.
How did you make the map?
Is information available in a spreadsheet?
It is not. But you’re welcome to peek at the XML file.
Why are the map pins different colors?
The different colors distinguish how many people were laid off at each paper. Of course, that’s only part of the story, since five layoffs at a small paper may hurt just as much or more than 50 layoffs at a large paper. Those “unknown” papers that we talked about before are marked with black pins. Papers that have laid off more than 100 employees get red pins. There’s a key under each map.
I can’t see the map. Can you fix it?
I hope so. Tell me what you are seeing and what browser you’re using, and I’ll try my best. My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I found a mistake!
Oops. Sorry about that, but the cat is a terrible copy editor. Tell me what I goofed up, and I’ll get it fixed.
I keep hearing about papers that have closed. Do you keep track of those too?
I do. There’s a map for papers that have closed, which you can sort by year by changing which boxes are checked under the map.
I have an idea for a project. Will you help?
I’ll certainly try. The map of closed newspapers was created after a reader asked for a list of closed papers. I’ve also written a couple of tutorials on how to create interactive maps. Just send me an email with questions or ideas.
This is a big project. How much does it cost?
Well, other than my time, the biggest recurring expenses are hosting, which is about $12 a month, and caffeine. (It can take a lot of caffeine.) This is a self-funded project; I have not and will not in the foreseeable future put ads on this site.
Does anyone else track newspaper layoffs?
Yes! You should check out these blogs:
Are you available for interviews?
Sure; send me an email.
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