About 120 lose jobs in Bay Area News Group rebranding, streamlining

San Francisco Chronicle | Contra Costa Times | Patch.com
The existing Bay Area News Group (BANG) newspapers titles will continue to be published after the changes take effect on November 2, 2011, but under two consolidated mastheads. The Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald, and East County Times will be branded under The Times masthead, while the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will be rebranded as the East Bay Tribune. BANG — a division of MediaNews Group — also says it’s streamlining its print operations, which will result in a reduction of approximately 120 jobs, “primarily in the production and editorial divisions.” || Patch.com’s Lance Howland hears that almost 50 people on the editorial side will lose their jobs. || SF Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci tweets: “Corporate PR spin: Release from CA’s Bay Area News Group, announcing decimation of its newspaper/staff chain tday, calls it ‘rebranding.’”

Pacific Media Workers Guild executive officer Carl Hall tells KQED:

Its shocking to contemplate any change of this scale. You’re talking about the loss of jobs on a mass scale and nobody knows whose job exactly is going to be cut, so everybody is trying to figure out what’s going to happen to my job, my bureau, my newspaper. …I don’t know how long this chaos and consolidation and layoff is going to last. We were hoping maybe by now we’d be in a recovery, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening.

I can’t just point the finger at MediaNews and say well they’re corporate ogres and they’re only cutting costs. I think they’re trying to find a strategy that will allow them to succeed, but right now we’re in this transition period that’s just devastating.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Shaw/100000100206249 Jan Shaw

    The owners of MediaNews Group made a series of what turned out to be disastrous financial decisions that put them deeply into debt during an acquisition phase — and then the ad market dried up.  They’ve been unsuccessfully scrambling ever since.Media organizations who did not go deeply into debt are in relatively good shape.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XOL5OEIGSHV4PCQZQNZB4AONMA Oliver M

    “Unions tried to kill the business?” Where do you see evidence of that in this situation? Just cite one example.
    The most significant newspaper death over the past year happened in Britain, and had nothing to do with unions. Or perhaps you haven’t heard of Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps you should Google him. His New York Post – which shed its unions 20 years ago – continues to lose tens of millions of dollars a year. Meanwhile, The New York Times and The Washington Post, notwithstanding the presence of those nasty unions, continue to be among the leaders in the migration of prnt to the Web.
    I was a union steward for years. No one “owed us” anything. We organized because we had the right to organize and bargain collectively. That’s pretty basic. No one held a gun to management’s head. We negotiated, picketed and negotiated some more to earn our contracts.
    As for this gem: “maybe they could save some money if the company and its employees didn’t have to funnel money to a labor union.” Wrong. Dead wrong. Ridiculously wrong. Union dues don’t come out of the company’s pocket. If you don’t know that, you’re hardly in a position to lecture anyone about the evils of unions.

  • Anonymous

    Evidence that unions kill businesses and jobs. Hello, GM? Or how about what happened in Hawaii with Gannet? It’s pretty well documented.

    “It turned out to be a war of attrition. A series of bruising battles with labor unions in which union members at one point actually tried to discourage local businesses from doing business with the Advertiser left Gannett bruised and weakened.”

    There is your union thuggery. Unions tried to kill the business. Google your own research. There are more examples.

    How can you sell newspapers when you give it away for free on the Internet?

    Answer: You can’t. Newspapers are dead. Your job has changed. Your cheese got moved. Adapt or die.

    FYI: The world is dynamic. It changes constantly.

    Union workers seem to think they are owed something and that progress should stop for them. As a group they are fairly self-righteous. You are a shining example of that.

  • Anonymous

    it is obvious to anyone paying attention that NON-union papers face the exact same problems as union papers. it would be interesting for someone to go to the trouble to compare the layoff rates. until that happens, some people are going to carp about how unions are helping kill newspapers. in fact, unions are no more a contributor to the tough times of newspapers than anything else. are untion papers having it worse economically than non-union papers? i don’t think so. IF they are, where’s the evidence?

    union haters can damn unions to hell if that makes them feel good, but all they are doing is revealing a glaring  bias and trying to make an argument that does not appear to be valid. if any one thing has been more detrimental to newspapers than anything else, it was the blind, head-long charge to the internet. it appears that the managers of newspapers did NOT take a step back and ask the obvious question: how can we continue to sell newspapers when we are giving them away free on the internet? 

  • Anonymous

    You’re right. It really is that simple. Everything is. 

  • Anonymous

    Well, maybe they could save some money if the company and its employees didn’t have to funnel money to a labor union. How many companies and government agencies are going to fold and how many people have to be laid off before people wake up to the bloodsucking labor unions. Didn’t anyone learn from the UAW who killed GM?

    Why is Carl Hall, Executive Officer of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA Local 39521 needed to print news? What is his salary?
    What is the dues structure for this union?
    What percentage to do they take from the newspaper’s employees?

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  • http://profiles.google.com/davidcayjohnston David Cay Johnston

    The Mercury’s account has a key fact not found elsewhere — 120 jobs being eliminated out of 1,500. That is 8 percent. Numbers only have meaning in relation to other numbers….