Miami Herald cuts 49 positions, announces new furloughs

Memos from the Herald’s publisher and executive editor

From: Landsberg, David – Miami
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:34 AM
To: .MIA All Herald Users
Subject: Announcement

Sept. 16, 2010

To all Herald employees:

Today we are announcing a plan to eliminate 49 staff positions across MHMC. The jobs will come from a combination of involuntary layoffs and reductions in certain work groups where employees will have the opportunity to voluntarily elect a severance package.

In an effort to minimize the number of layoffs, we will achieve additional savings in several ways: through operational efficiencies and the elimination of open positions, and in a second furlough that will begin in the fourth quarter. We will be announcing details of the furlough plan as soon as possible.

These actions come in response to the volatility of the economic recovery, a situation that is affecting many industries, not just our own. While the 2010 first-half trends gave us reason to be optimistic about improving operations, the uncertainty of the past few months created a negative impact we could not overcome. We strongly believe that MHMC will benefit as the economy strengthens.

The job eliminations are spread across all of our divisions and will affect employees at every level of the organization. Employees affected by this reduction are being notified immediately and provided with information about a transition package.

If a voluntary option is being offered to your work group, you will receive written notification with additional information. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced according to least tenure.

These are difficult decisions, and we realize how tough it is to stay focused on our important mission. We are grateful for your dedication and hard work through this lengthy period of economic turmoil.

Your division vice president is available to answer any further questions you may have about this plan.

David Landsberg

————

From: Gyllenhaal, Anders – Miami
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:46 AM
To: .MIA Newsroom
Subject: Note to the newsroom…

This is to follow up the announcement from David Landsberg on the company’s reduction plans. In the newsroom, this will mean the loss of seven full-time and two part-time positions. The staff members who are affected were contacted first thing this morning.

The positions include an assignment editor, a copy editor, a designer, a position in the library, a photographer, an online editor, and two positions in the wireroom. This means we will reorganize how the wireroom operates. Four open positions will not be filled. The staff of El Nuevo Herald will be reduced by 4.5 positions, and the editorial page staff by 20 hours as part of a change in how we do production.

As in the past, all members of work groups facing reductions will be offered voluntary separations. Anyone eligible will be contacted this morning to attend a meeting on the details. We will also have a general information session at 5 p.m. and in Conference Room A to answer any questions not addressed during the day. If you’d like to join in by phone, call 1-712-432-1620 and dial 138962 followed by #.

It’s disappointing and frustrating to be in this position after many months of progress. But it’s obvious that the economy has stalled and we’ve been feeling the impact through the summer and early fall. The entire newsroom has worked hard this past year to reshape how we operate with changes in the industry. We have to try to keep from losing momentum on these longer-term plans, so the reductions are spread across all disciplines and departments in an effort to preserve our priorities on content, enterprise and experimentation.

If you have questions about the plan, or the broader picture of what we’re facing, please let me know. Your editor, department head and Human Resources staff members are also ready to answer questions.

–Anders

(Read the Herald’s brief story.)

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  • http://davestanton.us gotoplanb

    These announcements are never good. I hope my friends make it through this and that the Herald truly becomes stronger for the future instead of just cutting costs for short-term relief.