Layoffs follow pay cut at Poynter’s St. Petersburg Times

Romenesko+ memo
When he announced a recent 5 percent pay cut for staff and change in severance payments, St. Petersburg Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash said the cost-cutting “will likely include further job reductions,” and now it has. In a memo to staff, editor Neil Brown acknowledged that layoffs at the Poynter-owned paper had started. “The economy affords us no guarantees,” Brown wrote, “but we hope to wrap up these staffing decisions by the middle of October.” We’ve been told about eight people who were laid off, but have confirmed only three. The full memo follows. || Related: How can there be layoffs at a newspaper which was recently written about as the fourth best newspaper in the country? (St. Petersblog)


From Neil Brown to staff

Colleagues,

As you no doubt are aware, the work is underway to restructure our newsroom, adjust our leadership ranks and lower our costs in this terrible economy. In announcing the recent pay-cut/extra days off program, Paul Tash said some job eliminations could be expected; they have begun around the company. In the newsroom, we will say goodbye to some dear co-workers and friends over the next couple weeks.

The nature of the St. Pete Times — we are privately held and strongly believe in discretion around personnel matters — means there is little we can share beyond the periodic notes of farewell. While the staff will be somewhat smaller, we remain committed to producing a first-class metropolitan newspaper and Web site that puts service to the residents of Tampa Bay as our top priority.

We understand the anxiety that such uncertain circumstances produce and share the sadness at seeing friends go. We aim to do this work quickly and treat our staff with respect and dignity. The economy affords us no guarantees, but we hope to wrap up these staffing decisions by the middle of October and then move forward and fully focus on great journalism the rest of the year and in 2012.

As always, I’m available – as are other senior editors – to talk about this or whatever else may be on your mind.

Neil

CORRECTION: This post originally had the wrong title for Neil Brown.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Maryn, that page is part of the St. Pete Times’ website so it operates entirely independent of us at Poynter. It makes sense to me that it’d include information about the governance structure, but that’s really their call. –Julie

  • http://twitter.com/marynmck Maryn McKenna

    Wouldn’t it be appropriate to disclose somewhere in here the Poynter Institute’s ownership of the SPTimes? 
    http://www.tampabay.com/company/about-us/directors-officers

  • Brian Haas

    Yup, Sandra, those subscribers sure are exiting in massive waves, I mean, they even… wait, what’s that? They’re not? Oh dear. Sorry, Sandra. Looks like it’s you who apparently doesn’t recognize the truth.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/times-extends-state-lead-in-newspaper-circulation/1167603

    I know it’s fun and neat and en vogue to toss out all sorts of assertions without any efforts to actually research because it just SEEMS right (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias), but there’s a terrible truth that is just too big to ignore: You’re wrong.

    Sorry, them’s the breaks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandra-Deyton/100000746685139 Sandra Deyton

    I wonder if the CEO realizes that the trash he prints is the reason for the layoffs.  The citizens of St. Pete are sick of the same old rhetoric against anything closely resembling the truth.  When you continually print lies and inuendo, the public catches on and retaliates with cancelling their subscriptions.