Layoffs/buyouts/staff cuts

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Newspaper industry lost 3,800 full-time editorial professionals in 2014

The American Society of News Editors annual newsroom census, released this morning, found that job losses accelerated in 2014, falling by more than 10 percent in a single year.

The net job loss of 3,800 brings the total number of news professionals to 32,900 — with additional losses clearly taking place so far in 2015.  That total is down just over 40 per cent from a pre-recession peak of 55,000 in 2006.

It’s the biggest single year drop since the industry was shedding more than 10,000 jobs in 2007 and 2008.  The comparable figure for 2013 was 1,300 jobs and 2,600 in 2012.

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The survey began in 1978 to track progress in improving diversity in newspapers’ newsrooms and leadership ranks and continues to embrace that mission. Read more

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Opinion: Journalism companies are dead. Long live journalists.

We’ve talked endlessly about the future of journalism. It’s time to talk about the future of journalists.

The Orange County Register’s new owner thought the way to turn the paper around is through better reporting to lure new and former readers to a revived product. He has since stepped away from managing the paper. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Orange County Register’s new owner thought the way to turn the paper around is through better reporting to lure new and former readers to a revived product. He has since stepped away from managing the paper. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

People who observe and report on others’ lives have a built-in sense of shame about navel-gazing. Maybe that’s why, amid all of the study and conversations about the future of journalism and business models, remarkably little attention has been paid to the plight of individual journalists.

They have the skill sets to do this work and the passion for it. In theory, there could be journalism without traditional media companies as we’ve known them, but there won’t be without people who do the job of journalism. Read more

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What journalists should know before taking a buyout

job-negotiationBuyouts have become commonplace in the journalism industry.

For instance, The New York Times announced it was requesting 100 voluntary buyouts last year and the Chicago Sun-Times announced earlier this month it plans to cut 22 percent of newsroom staff through buyouts and layoffs.

Experts say there are things journalists should consider before signing a buyout or severance agreement with their newsroom employers.

“The most important thing is to be aware of what rights [and/or claims] you’re releasing and what you’re not releasing,” said Katherine Blostein, a partner with Outten & Golden, a New York based law firm that represents employees.

She said it’s important to understand what obligations former employees still owe to the company, such as confidentiality or non-compete agreements. Blostein also said not to rule out legal counsel and consider pro bono assistance or lawyers who have a low hourly fee structure. Read more

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It matters how Rolling Stone reported its UVA rape story

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Rolling Stone story causes the wrong kind of unease

    Sabrina Rubin Erdely's story finally got UVA's administration to deal with campus sexual assault. But if it "turns out to be a hoax, it is going to turn the clock back on their thinking 30 years,” Caitlin Flanagan tells Allison Benedikt and Hanna Rosin. They found Jackie, the main character of Erdely's story, who "had already been interviewed by the Washington Post for a story that has not yet run." (Slate) | If the men Jackie accuses of rape "were being cited in the story for mere drunkenness, boorish frat-boy behavior or similar collegiate misdemeanors, then there’d be no harm in failing to secure their input," Erik Wemple writes.

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Rolling Stone didn’t contact the men it accused of rape

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why didn’t Rolling Stone contact frat boys it accused of rape?

    Sabrina Rubin Erdely told Slate she "reached out" in "multiple ways" to the guys in her blockbuster UVA story and instead spoke with a local fraternity president and a national representative. “I’m satisfied that these guys exist and are real," Rolling Stone editor Sean Woods tells Paul Farhi. We knew who they were.” Erdely tells Farhi, "by dwelling on this, you’re getting sidetracked." (WP) | If an article "plays to rather than challenges your biases, you should subject it to tougher scrutiny," Judith Shulevitz writes about Erdely's account of the rape of a main character named Jackie. "What we don't know is whether every detail of Jackie's story, as told to Rolling Stone, is true; by not contacting the alleged rapists, Erdely opened the article up to questions." (TNR)

  2. More NYT buyout names trickle out

    Interactive news desk editor Lexi Mainland and photographer Fred R.

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Who is taking NYT buyouts?

Dec. 1 was New York Times’ employees’ deadline to apply for one of the 100 buyouts the company offered.

Sports reporter Barry Bearak confirms to Poynter he’s applied for the buyout. Edward Wyatt in the Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau tells Poynter he’s applied. Ron Wertheimer, on the Culture desk, says he is retiring as part of the buyout. Fellow Culture deskers David DeWitt, Christopher Phillips and Ray Cormier say they have applied.

David Geary, the late news desk editor for the past decade, applied and will leave on Dec. 19. Don Hecker, an editor in the Times newsroom’s administration unit (and a cofounder of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute) is taking the buyout.

Assistant business editor Jack Lynch says we can add him to our list. Read more

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NYT edges closer to layoffs

Good morning. Almost there. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. NYT may have layoffs, after all

    A memo from Janet Elder says the news org may not have enough buyout applications to forgo layoffs. "Early efforts to handicap the outcome regrettably point to having to do some layoffs." Also, if you take the buyout, MOMA will not let you in for free anymore. (Mother Jones) | Last month Keith J. Kelly reported that more than 300 people had filed buyout applications, but many were "just securing their rights and checking it out," Guild unit rep Grant Glickson said. (NY Post) | Floyd Norris is taking the buyout. (Talking Biz News) | More N.Y. Guild news: Eight Guild members who worked at Reuters' Insider video project are losing their jobs.

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Let the talk of NYT buyouts begin

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Let the talk of NYT buyouts begin

    No newsroom names yet, but "but news of potential or likely takers are spreading among their colleagues." On the business side, Yasmin Namini and Tom Carley are confirmed takers. Application deadline is Dec. 1. (Capital)

  2. Get ready to cover Ferguson again

    One thing you might want to do: Learn the difference between "downtown" St. Louis and the Loop. (Reuters) | "Learn basics. Or we're sending our people to report on Manhattan entirely from Staten Island." (@sarahkendzior) | Kristen Hare gave you some basics about the region back in August. (Poynter) | She's still updating her Twitter list of journalists in the region. | Reread this if you get a sec: "How municipalities in St.

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Fox News crushed competitors on election night

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Fox News beat broadcast networks on election night

    It also crushed in 2010, the last Republican wave. (NYT) | "Fox News is normally the dominant player in cable news, but its high ratings on Tuesday may have been partly influenced by the nature of the 2014 electorate." (Politico) | Related: "Think of the GOP’s Senate takeover as a full-employment act for Washington reporters," Jack Shafer writes. (Reuters)

  2. Earnings season update

    News Corp saw overall revenues rise, but ad revenue at its print newspapers fell 7 percent over the same period the year before. Strong results at its book division (including recently acquired Harlequin) and other businesses drove an overall growth in revenue at the spun-off company.

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Reporter declines to reapply for her job, gets laid off

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Reporter declines to reapply for her job, gets laid off Burlington Free Press reporter Lynn Monty decided not to consummate the process of reapplying for her job last week. The Free Press, like many other Gannett papers, has asked staffers to reapply for jobs in reimagined “newsrooms of the future.” “I loved my job, but I don’t love Gannett,” Monty tells Paul Heintz. “I will make a new way for myself that doesn’t compromise my integrity.” (Seven Days)
  2. The last circulation report The Alliance for Audited Media will release its final print Snapshot report today. Because of more rule changes, “we advise against comparing year-over-year data,” AAM cautions. (AAM) | I wrote last October about how some other recent rules made comparisons difficult.
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