Articles about "Layoffs/buyouts/staff cuts"

Rainbow Room Reopening

N.Y. publishers mull more layoffs

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. More layoffs may come at New York publishers: “Industry executives are spending the month of October in closed-door meetings as they look for ways to tighten their belts even more.” (WWD) | Related: Time Inc. management “wants the ability to send 160 editorial jobs overseas,” Newspaper Guild of New York President Bill O’Meara says. (Capital) | Meta related: New owner Jay Penske‘s plan for WWD. (Capital) | Related sad trombone: “The joy we get from throwing magazines away seems like a bad sign for their future,” Laura Hazard Owen writes. (Gigaom)
  2. NBC News crew quarantined: They worked with freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo in Liberia and “Officials said the order was issued late Friday after the crew members violated an agreement to voluntarily confine themselves.” No one’s shown any signs of the disease. (Reuters) | “With the Ebola virus, you never relax completely, but we think [Mukpo] has made great progress,” a doctor at the Omaha hospital where he’s being treated said. (Mashable)
  3. Keith Olbermann notifies his bosses about his commentaries: Olbermann gives ESPN execs in Bristol “as much as six hours notice,” he tells Richard Deitsch. “The key people all get the A Block [opening] commentary and the Worst Persons. So the scripts are sitting with them for a couple of hours.” (SI)
  4. NYT kills chess column: Dylan Loeb McClain‘s Oct. 11 column ends with an abrupt note: “This is the final chess column to run in The New York Times.” (NYT) | “Few will mourn, even as a symbolic loss.” (@Kasparov63) | “A chess column has appeared in the NYT since… 1855.” (@DVNJr) | The bridge column is still breathing, Michael Roston notes. (@michaelroston)
  5. Why David Remnick isn’t on Twitter: “I don’t have a Twitter account, [but] not because I’m a dinosaur about it,” the New Yorker EIC tells Alexandra Steigrad. “I have enough of a platform here. People in my position who do it tend to use it in a promotional way or in a hamstrung way. I look at Twitter all the time as a news tool or for cultural conversation. I’ve used it in my reporting. It’s very useful.” (WWD)
  6. Peter Parker’s poor journalism ethics: “That’s exactly how Peter Parker paid the bills in the early Spider-Man comics, taking posed pictures of Spider-Man that no one else could get, then selling them to J. Jonah Jameson, the Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief.” (Salon) | Related: 5 bad journalism lessons from Superman comics (Poynter)
  7. “The network just doesn’t surprise you”: Bill Carter looks at why MSNBC’s ratings “hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows.” (NYT)
  8. YouTube builds a “teaching hospital”: At its new production space in Manhattan, members of the company’s partner program “are given access to better cameras, production spaces and editing facilities as classes train them not just in shooting video, but also in makeup, design and anything else that might make programming pop online.” (NYT)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: Chicago’s RedEye fronts a very nicely framed image from this weekend’s St. Louis protests. (Courtesy the Newseum.)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: David Cohn is now executive producer at AJ+. Previously, he was chief content officer at Circa. (Dave Cohn) | Lenika Cruz has been named associate editor at The Atlantic. Previously, she was a contributing editor at Circa. Grace White will be a reporter at CBS Houston. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at Fox 29 San Antonio. (Muck Rack) | Rick Daniels has been named publisher at The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant. Previously, he was chief operating officer of GoLocal24. Nancy Meyer has been named publisher and CEO of Orlando Sentinel Media Group. Previously, she was publisher of the Courant. (Poynter) | Dana Hahn has been named news director for KTVU in San Francisco. Previously, she was news director for WTTG in Washington, D.C. Sara Suarez has been named news director for WFDC in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was news director for WUNI in Boston. Matt King has been named news director for WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Previously, he was assistant news director at WXIA in Atlanta. Jeff Mulligan has been named news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Previously, he was assistant news director for WISH in Indianapolis. Lee Rosenthal has been named news director at WFXT in Boston. Previously, he was news director at KTVU. Rick Moll has been named news director at WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia. Previously, he was news director for WMBD/WYZZ in Peoria, Illinois. Brian Nemitz has been named assistant news director at WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. Previously, he was a nightside executive producer at WTVJ in Miami. Martha Jennings has been named assistant news director at WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee. Previously, she was nightside executive producer at WFLA in Tampa, Florida. Troy Conhain has been named nightside executive producer at KOLD in Tucson, Arizona. Previously, he was morning executive producer at KPHO in Phoenix, Arizona. (Rick Gevers) | Job of the day The Hill is looking for a campaign reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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Programming note: I’m going to be off for most of this week and will be at the Creative Belfast conference on Thursday. Sam Kirkland will leave a roundup under your pillow while I’m gone. Read more

Earns Gannett

Gannett shifts some costs of USA Today layoffs to states

USA Today laid off about 70 people last month. Those who lost their jobs received a week of pay for every year of service, health care through the end of September and the vacation pay they’d already accrued for the year.

But as they turned in their laptops and cellphones, some USA Today journalists were surprised to find out who would pay a chunk of their farewell package: their state unemployment office.

USA Today is owned by Gannett, which doesn’t always pay laid-off workers a traditional severance. Instead, as in the case of the recent layoffs, it may provide a “transitional pay plan.” In one of these plans, Gannett, through a contractor called Total Management Solutions, makes up the difference between a worker’s old paycheck and their unemployment check for a certain amount of time.

Gannett didn’t make anyone available for an interview on this subject, but spokesperson Jeremy Gaines told Poynter in an email that “The Transitional Pay Plan (TPP) is one type of severance plan that Gannett offers. It provides one week of pay for every year of service to a maximum of 36 weeks, offset by an employee’s state unemployment benefit.”

If employees take on any paid work before the transitional pay period ends, their benefits — which are not subject to FICA deductions — are either reduced or lost. If they get a new job, the payments stop. Employees have to call in every week to their state unemployment office as well as to Total Management Solutions.

“They both interrogate you: ‘Are you employed?’” one former USA Today staffer who’d worked for the paper for more than 15 years told Poynter. “If you forget to call them one week you can presumably lose everything.”

The literature Gannett provides laid-off employees says the transitional pay benefit “provides a substantial benefit to employees as they transition from Gannett to a new job. It also allows Gannett to reduce its transition costs.”

“The taxpayers are paying part of my paycheck, basically,” said another laid-off staffer I spoke with, who said she found she could easily register with the Virginia Employment Commission online: “It’s not utter humiliation.” She found one way to take on freelance work and maintain her benefits while searching for a new gig: After speaking to her accountant, she set up an LLC and will ask freelance clients to pay her company instead.

Gannett has used this type of plan, also called supplemental employment benefits, since at least 2009. The New York Times reported on how Gannett used the plans with 1,400 people it laid off in July of that year. The distinction between transitional pay and severance, Richard Pérez-Peña wrote, was “lost on employees who say that the practical effect of being paid — or not — is the same, no matter how the program is labeled.”

Representatives of other newspaper companies, including Tribune, McClatchy and the New York Times Co., told Pérez-Peña in 2009 they provide more traditional severance packages. Attempts by Poynter to poll publishers on this point in 2014 did not meet any success.

USA Today’s newsroom doesn’t have a union, which is not uncommon among Gannett papers. (The Detroit Free Press, the Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle and the Indianapolis Star are among the few Gannett properties that have Guild representation.) But supplemental employment benefit plans developed in union-dominated companies in the ’50s, said Rick McHugh, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. “The idea was really to have a guaranteed annual wage” at a time when layoffs were prevalent in the steel and auto industries, he said.

In many states, McHugh said, severance counts as remuneration and disqualifies workers from getting unemployment benefits: “That varies widely, but in the majority of states, say you worked there 10 years, and they’re giving you 10 weeks’ severance, you would lose 10 weeks’ unemployment benefit,” he said.

“I have to say this is a more beneficial approach than I would expect from Gannett,” said McHugh, who represented newspaper strikers concerning their unemployment insurance, including claims against Gannett, during the Detroit newspaper strike of 1995-2000. In the United States, he said, “with at-will employment, basically, there is no obligation to pay employees anything when you lay them off.” Read more


CNN will cut 300 jobs

CNN | USA Today

CNN Worldwide will cut about 300 positions, Brian Stelter reports. Its parent company, Turner Broadcasting, wants to reduce its number of employees by about 10 percent.

About 130 of the CNN cuts are coming from buyouts, Stelter writes. The remainder “will be cut through layoffs.”

Turner is in turn owned by Time Warner. USA Today media columnist Michael Wolff wrote Sunday that Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes wants to raise the company’s stock price, and “the fast way to $100 a share is the kind of deep cost-cutting that this relatively complaisant company has never been known for.” Read more


Free Press designer ‘cared about every single word, every comma, every period’ on 1A

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Free Press designer dies: 25-year veteran Steve Anderson was 59. Remembers Amy Huschka, assistant editor/social media: “He was so proud of his Twitter account and loved sharing historic images and daily 1A’s with his followers.” From Jason Karas, a designer and colleague: “He cared about every single word, every comma, every period that he placed on a 1A.” (Detroit Free Press) | A collection of memorable front pages designed by Anderson. (Detroit Free Press) | A Storify of Anderson’s tweets that anyone who loves newspaper design should check out. (Storify)
  2. Freelance cameraman contracts Ebola: The unidentified man was working for NBC News on a team in Liberia with medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The production team has been ordered by NBC News “to return to the United States and enter quarantine for 21 days,” Bill Carter reports. (The New York Times)
  3. More arrests in Ferguson: Our Kristen Hare is on the beat, of course. (Poynter) | And she’ll be updating her list of journalists arrested in Ferguson, Missouri since protests over the killing of Michael Brown began. (Poynter)
  4. How to cover Hong Kong protests: “The police sometimes use the excuse of a lack of media credentials as their reason to prevent access. Freelancers and journalism students seem to be their favorite targets.” Good list of resources here. (Committee to Protect Journalists) | Poynter’s Kristen Hare has a Twitter list of journalists covering the chaos in Hong Kong. It’s up to 173 members this morning. (Twitter)

  5. No more coffee at the Houston Chronicle: Because it’s better than cutting other things. (Houston Press) | Good timing: The Press published a list of the 10 best coffee shops in Houston on Wednesday. (Houston Press) | The Chronicle’s move to eliminate free newsroom coffee comes the week of National Coffee Day, which we celebrated by having readers “mug” for the camera. (Poynter) | And it comes the month after a study indicated coffee was even more important to us journalists than to cops. (Poynter)
  6. WaPo runs native ad in print: “It’s a godsend that the Washington Post made it look as horrible as it is, because no one will mistake it for editorial.” (Digiday)
  7. More layoffs at NYT: Between 20 and 25 people on the business side were laid off from The New York Times on Wednesday, sources tell Joe Pompeo. (Capital New York) | On Wednesday, the Times announced it plans to cut 100 of 1,330 newsroom jobs through voluntary buyouts or, if necessary, layoffs. (Poynter)
  8. Everything you need to know about the Facebook algorithm: Haha, just kidding. At ONA, Liz Heron took some tough questions but tried to reassure journalists that Facebook isn’t playing favorites with the News Feed. (Poynter)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The ever-innovative Virginian-Pilot tracks Ebola cases. (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: James Nord is now a political correspondent for The Associated Press. Previously, he was a political reporter at MinnPost. (AP) | Evan Berland is now global news manager for weekends at the AP. Previously, he was deputy editor for the eastern United States. (AP) | Mitra Kalita is now an adjunct faculty member at Poynter. She is Quartz’ ideas editor. (Poynter) | Catherine Gundersen is now managing editor of Marie Claire. She was editorial business manager at GQ. (Fishbowl NY) | Jacob Rascon is now a correspondent at NBC News. Previously, he was a reporter for KNBC in Los Angeles. (TV Spy) | Job of the day: The Wall Street Journal is looking for a banking editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

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NYT has more readers, more ad revenue and — soon — fewer journalists

mediawiremorningGood morning. Happy Sting’s Birthday, everybody. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Some perspective on the planned NYT staff cuts: “When the buyouts/layoffs are done, the New York Times will have nearly twice the number of staffers as the Washington Post’s 650-strong operation, instead of more than twice as many.” (WP) | For vets, the buyout deal is much sweeter than what any layoffs will offer. (Newspaper Guild of N.Y.) | Killer Ken Doctor quote: “Doctor describes the current state of newspapers as ‘continuing grimness, but manageable grimness.’” (Text bolded in case you need a name for a Smiths cover band, or maybe a tattoo idea.) (USA Today) | More Ken Doctor: “The big bright spot is obscured by that big layoff number: a 16 percent increase in Q3 digital revenue, compared to 3.4 percent up in Q2 and 2.2 percent up in Q1.” Also: “The Times has more paying readers today than in 1999. That’s a signal accomplishment.” (Newsonomics) | WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR THE APPS? NYT Opinion is going away. NYT Now users will no longer get a less robust tier of access to the Times website. NYT Cooking will remain free, at least for now. (Nieman) | John Herrman: “NYT Opinion was an interesting piece of software run by talented people but built around an opinion franchise that finished accumulating new fans a decade ago.” (The Awl) | Mathew Ingram: The Times should work on monetizing relationships with readers, not slicing “its existing content into smaller and smaller pieces.” (Gigaom) || Catch up: Ravi Somaiya‘s story about the cuts. (NYT) | Memos to staff from Dean Baquet, Mark Thompson and Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (Poynter)
  2. “Bag Men” cover didn’t really work out for NY Post: It settled a lawsuit with Salaheddin Barhoum and Yassine Zaimi, who it identified as “BAG MEN” during the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt. They were simply watching the race. “Neither side would disclose terms of the settlement.” (AP) | “We did not identify them as suspects,” Post Editor Col Allan said last April. (WP)
  3. Star-Advertiser owner buys more Hawaiian papers: Oahu Publications Inc. is buying the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today on the Big Island from Stephens Media. (Honolulu Civil Beat) | “The @StarAdvertiser now runs ALL the daily newspapers on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island.” (@GenePark)
  4. Vice publishes Ferguson Police Department documents: “It would appear that Ferguson police do not always follow those procedures and instructions.” (Vice)
  5. Egypt steals newspapers: Authorities seized all copies of the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, which published an interview with a spy. (NYT) | You can read the issue on | Late last month, the parents of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste described visiting him in an Egyptian prison. (The Courier-Mail)
  6. Covering Ebola: Nsikan Akpan wants to raise $1,000 to “interview journalists and bloggers living near the epicenter of an outbreak and compare their views with those covering the situation from abroad.” (Indiegogo) | Lenny Bernstein: “You don’t touch anyone in Liberia.” (WP) | In case you were wondering: Why “Ebola” is capitalized. (Poynter)
  7. Journalists emigrate from Russia: Galina Timchenko, Oleg Kashin and Leonid Bershidsky left because of the current press climate, Stephen Ennis reports. 186,000 people left Russia in 2013, “five times as many as two years earlier.” (BBC)
  8. Scaling the ivory tower: Wired will offer an “online master’s degree in Integrated Design, Business and Technology” at the University of Southern California. (Wired) | Twitter has invested $10 million to create a research group at MIT to “better understand how information spreads on Twitter and other social media platforms.” (WSJ)
  9. Front page of the day, curated by Kristen Hare: The Epoch Times, with a nice design take on the Dallas Ebola story. (Courtesy the Newseum)


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Marjorie Powell is now vice president of human resources at NPR. Previously, she was chief human resources officer at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. (NPR) | Tim O’Shaughnessy is now president of Graham Holdings Company. Previously, he was CEO of LivingSocial. (GraHoCo) | Victor Caivano is now news director for The Associated Press’ “Southern Cone” countries — Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Previously, he was a photojournalist there. (AP) | Ali Watkins will be a reporter at HuffPost Politics. Previously, she worked for McClatchy DC. (Email) | Zach Goldfarb will be policy editor at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a White House and economics correspondent there. (Washington Post) | Job of the day The Washington Post is hiring a video producer. Get your résumés in! (Wash Post PR) | Send Ben your job moves:

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White House Fence

White House tried to squash fainting-intern story

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. White House edits pool reports: The White House press office sometimes demands changes to pool reports before it “forwards them via e-mail to a database of thousands of recipients, including news outlets, federal agencies and congressional offices,” Paul Farhi reports. “This two-step process enables White House staffers to read the pool reports — and potentially object to them — before press aides send them to recipients.” HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery tells Farhi the White House tried to squash her fainting-intern story. (WP)
  2. Pirates release journalist: Somali pirates released freelancer Michael Scott Moore, CNN reports. Michel Todd of Pacific Standard, for which Moore wrote a weekly column, said the magazine “had been encouraged by the FBI and State Department to (not) write about it because this would hurt his cause.” (CNN)
  3. Layoff season is upon us: The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal laid off 17 people yesterday, according to the Memphis Newspaper Guild. (Poynter) | The O.C. Register laid off people yesterday after owner Aaron Kushner abruptly closed the Los Angeles Register. Gustavo Arellano has 19 names. (OC Weekly) | The Des Moines Register “said on Monday that it was restructuring its newsroom, making cuts among editing and production staff and requiring all existing employees to reapply for their jobs.” (WSJ) | Related: “The Washington Post announced large cuts in retirement benefits on Tuesday, declaring that it would eliminate future retirement medical benefits and freeze defined-benefit pensions for nonunion employees.” (WP)
  4. Hoax alert: A company called Rantic Marketing says it was behind a purported threat to release nude photos of the actress Emma Watson. (HuffPost) | A lot of outlets reported on the “threat,” including the New York Daily News, Mashable, CNN and Slate. | Related: The “three-breasted woman” story is a hoax, too. (TMZ, Snopes)
  5. Speaking of things that may be illusory: San Diego philanthropist Malin Burnham wants to turn U-T San Diego into a nonprofit. Liam Dillon reports Burnham’s hopes well for Voice of San Diego, but an editor’s note on Nieman Lab, which republished the interview, says “I think there’s reason to believe that, in three months, we’ll either still be waiting for an IRS judgment on this or hearing about how the deal didn’t work out.” (Nieman)
  6. AP and Deloitte survey Middle Eastern and North African news consumers: “Seventy percent of respondents use social media for news more today than they did last year, and 59 percent discover the majority of news this way. However, the research also indicates that TV remains important for finding out more on a story once it has broken, with 43 percent accessing it first to get more information.” (AP)
  7. News orgs ask DOJ to investigate how Ferguson officials treated the press: 44 news organizations signed a RCFP letter urging “that the unlawful arrest and mistreatment of journalists covering events in Ferguson be included in the investigation.” (RCFP)
  8. Great moments in sports media, Wednesday edition: The San Francisco Giants are reportedly boycotting CSN Bay Area reporter Andrew Baggarly after he reported on an argument between pitcher Sergio Romo and coach Shawon Dunston. (Deadspin) | “Tiger: ‘Off the record? Because the majors are over.’ Asked him for comment on the record. He paused and said, ‘Because the majors are over’ (@dougferguson405)
  9. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: TBT, a publication of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, fronts the three-breasted woman hoax, which, surprisingly, is a Florida story.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Jill Geisler will be an affiliate at Poynter. She is senior faculty of leadership and management there. (Poynter) | Leila Brillson is now digital editorial director at Nylon and NylonGuys. Previously, she was entertainment director for Refinery29. (Email) | Clinton Cargill will be director of photography for Bloomberg Businessweek. Previously, he was photo editor at The New York Times Magazine. (Email) | Blathnaid Healy is now UK editor at Mashable. Previously, she was chief operations officer for Tim Chester has been named deputy UK editor at Mashable. Previously, he was senior Web editor at Rough Guides. Ben Maher is now UK advertising director at Mashable. He was agency director at Weve. (PRWeb) | Andy Lack has been named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He is chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group. (TV Newser) | Iain Williamson is now an associate publisher at Defense One. Previously, he was director of sales at Intermarkets, Inc. Patrick Lavan is now senior account director of Defense One. Previously, he was an account director there. (Email) | Kristin Boehm is now deputy editor at Previously, she was director of news and engagement there. (Fishbowl NY) | Job of the day: Scripps Treasure Coast Media is looking for an “innovative columnist.” Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Programming note: MediaWire Morning and the rest of the Poynter dot org crew will be at ONA in Chicago through Saturday. I’d love to say hello if you’re there! (@abeaujon/703-594-1103/ I’ll observe Central time while there, so you may get this roundup later than usual on Thursday and Friday.

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Correction A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bloomberg chairman Andy Lack was named CEO of the United States International Communications Agency. In fact, he was named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Read more


Tampa Bay Times cuts staff pay, hints at layoffs

The Tampa Bay Times will cut staff pay 5 percent, Times Publishing Company CEO Paul Tash tells staffers in a letter Thursday.

The company will also cap severance payments to employees who leave voluntarily at eight weeks’ pay, unless they resign by Oct. 1, in which case the maximum severance is 13 weeks’ pay. The letter hints at layoffs: “After these voluntary departures, we will take stock of the company’s ongoing staff patterns and needs,” Tash writes.

He continues:

If you are uncertain about your standing with the Times, this is a good time for a frank conversation with your supervisor. If this long, difficult stretch has tested your commitment to the Times or the newspaper business, this is a good time to consider your options.

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times said in March it planned buyouts in advance of job reductions. The paper cut pay 5 percent in 2009, when it was known as the St. Petersburg Times. It also cut staff pay 5 percent in 2011 and laid off staff the next month. It ended the second 5 percent cut in March 2012.

The Times also announced Thursday it had sold the Tramor Cafeteria to a company that plans to make it into a beer garden. While it was no longer an active cafeteria, “Times employees have used it as a place to eat lunch brought from home and for meetings,” Katherine Snow Smith reports.

“Staffers are welcome to use the break room on the 2nd floor, where other vending machines are located,” a memo to staffers about the Tramor sale says.

The Times also recently gave up the naming rights to an arena in Tampa.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, average Sunday circulation at the Tampa Bay Times in March 2014 was down 1 percent over the same month the year before, to 397,996. Average Monday-Friday circulation was down nearly 7 percent, to 317,270.

Full memo:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Newspaper publishing remains a tough business, especially this summer, and we are taking some tough measures to adapt our company’s operations to the reality of tight revenue.

First, starting with the week of September 29, there will once again be a 5 percent wage reduction for all fulltime Times staffers. (This will show up in paychecks on Friday, October 10.) We regret the necessity and will endeavor to restore full pay when conditions permit, as we did before. While the pay reduction is in place, staffers will receive one extra day of paid leave per quarter.

Second, we are capping the maximum paid severance at eight weeks, rather than the current 13. This change anticipates that as we lower expenses, there will be further job reductions.

In light of these changes, we will offer severance — under the current policy and based on their current pay — to staffers who resign by October 1 and leave the staff by October 10. (Note: This offer does not extend to advertising sales representatives or sales managers, because we do not anticipate job reductions in those ranks.)

After these voluntary departures, we will take stock of the company’s ongoing staff patterns and needs. If you are uncertain about your standing with the Times, this is a good time for a frank conversation with your supervisor. If this long, difficult stretch has tested your commitment to the Times or the newspaper business, this is a good time to consider your options.

It hurts my heart that for all the fine work we have done this year, and indeed over the last several years, there is more hard work ahead, including some disruption or hardship for people I care about. Against that disappointment, I draw encouragement from our extraordinary work and the great difference it makes every day in the lives of our readers, advertisers and communities.

Yes, this work is difficult, but it is also vital — not just for the Times, but for Tampa Bay. So for me there is only one option: to see it through.

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Macworld lays off staff

Jason Snell

Macworld editorial director Jason Snell says he’s leaving the publication and that “many of my colleagues lost their jobs today.”

Snell writes that he decided to leave last December “after several corporate leadership changes, and with budget cuts looming on the horizon.” His new bosses talked him into staying. But:

Then another leadership shift occurred, the sixth in 24 months. The new bosses were actually my old bosses, and they knew exactly how I was feeling about my job and the prospect of going through more painful changes. To their great credit, they allowed us to end our relationship amicably. I thank them for their support and their generosity. They even asked me to write a final front-of-the-book column in the November issue of Macworld.

Unfortunately, many of my colleagues lost their jobs today. If there’s anything I can do to help them, I will. I have had time to plan for this day, but they haven’t. You probably know some of them. Please join with me in giving them sympathy and support.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.39.56 AM

Bloomberg makes exception to policy about employees who left

mediawiremorningGood morning after a day of never-ending media news. Here are at least 10 media stories.

  1. Hizzoner is back: Mike Bloomberg will return to run Bloomberg L.P., Andrew Ross Sorkin reports. Current Bloomberg honcho Daniel L. Doctoroff will depart by the end of the year. “If it was up to me, he would have stayed,” Bloomberg tells Sorkin. (NYT) | “Wait I thought when you leave Bloomberg you can’t ever come back?” (@kleinmatic) | Some context for that jape. (Inc.) | “With great pride and gratitude I’ll be turning the @Bloomberg reins back over to @MikeBloomberg at year’s end.” (@dandoctoroff) | Doctoroff explains why he’s leaving: “I have always viewed myself as Mike’s steward at the company. It is and has always been his company, and given his renewed interest, it is natural for him to reassume leadership of the company.” (Bloomberg) | The company “is facing competition from the financial firms that are its clients in areas like messaging.” (WSJ)
  2. USA Today lays off staff: Between 60 and 70 people lost their jobs yesterday. About half those cuts hit the newsroom. People I spoke with described seeing reporters pack up boxes and leave. One person told me she’d been dismissed in a five-minute phone call that stressed her layoff was a business decision. (Poynter) | Film critic Scott Bowles‘ mother canceled her subscription after her son got laid off. (@abeaujon)
  3. Donte Stallworth will cover national security for HuffPost: “There’s been a national security wonk lurking underneath Donte’s helmet for quite some time, as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows,” HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel says in a press release. | Gail Sullivan: “It’s true: Stallworth’s resume doesn’t look much like the average journalist’s. But his Twitter feed sure does.” (WP) | “[I]t turns out Stallworth has a 9/11 truther past.” (The Daily Caller)
  4. 20 Canadian newspapers will close: Transcontinental was not able to find buyers for most of the Quebec weeklies. The Canadian government ordered the company to sell 33 newspapers after it bought 74 newspapers from Sun Media Corp. About 80 people will lose their jobs. (Canadian Press/HuffPost Canada)
  5. New York Daily News will no longer use the term “Redskins” when writing about the D.C. football team: “Here’s a simple test of whether Redskin passes muster: Would you use the term in referring to Native Americans in anything other than a derogatory way?” The paper has also designed a new burgundy-and-gold logo to run in place of the Skins’ actual logo. (NYDN) | The Washington Post’s editorial board made a similar decision recently, but the newsroom will continue to use the name. (WP) | “Yeah, because the Washington Post editorial page is always writing about Redskins….” (@jackshafer) | My list of journalists and outlets that spurn the term. (Poynter) | Related: Web traffic from outside New York City is way, way up at the Daily News since it relaunched its website. (Digiday)
  6. Vice attracts more investment: A&E and Technology Crossover Ventures have each put $250 million into the company, which is now valued at $2.5 billion. (The Guardian) | Vice CEO Shane Smith in February: “Woodward and Bernstein are now the old men, but once they were the punks.” (Poynter)
  7. Social media companies kept video of Steven Sotloff’s execution from spreading: “‘It’s been very interesting, with this second beheading, how very little of those images have been passed around,’ said Family Online Safety Institute CEO Stephen Balkam, who serves on Facebook’s safety advisory board. ‘It’s very difficult to find them unless you know of some darker places on the web.’” (AP) | Margaret Sullivan on NYT’s use of image from video: “not using anything at all from this despicable video would have been even better.” (NYT)
  8. New York City has 309 newsstands left: Sales of lottery tickets and sundries keep most of those going. “Newsstands that used to sell 1,000 papers a day now sell 100,” NYC Newsstand Operators Association President Robert Bookman tells Gary M. Stern. (NYO)
  9. Ferguson is not over: The Justice Department “will launch a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department.” (WP) | AN ABSOLUTE MUST-READ: Radley Balko on how tiny St. Louis-area towns use their justice systems to soak poor people. If you want to understand some of the context of the unrest that followed Mike Brown’s death, you won’t want to miss this story. (WP)
  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Michael Bloomberg will replace Daniel Doctoroff as chief executive officer of Bloomberg LP. Previously, Bloomberg was mayor of New York City. (New York Times) | Gina Sanders is now president of Condé Nast Global Development. She was president and CEO of Fairchild Fashion Media. (Condé Nast) | Brian Olsavsky will be chief financial officer for, Inc. He is the company’s vice president of finance. (Amazon) | Donte Stallworth is a politics fellow at The Huffington Post. Previously, he was a coaching intern with the Baltimore Ravens (HuffPost Politics) | Chris Meighan is now design director of The Washington Post’s mobile initiative. Previously, he was The Post’s deputy design director. (The Washington Post) | Doris Truong will be weekend editor for The Washington Post’s universal desk. She is the homepage editor for The Post. (The Washington Post) | Joe Vardon will cover LeBron James for the Northeast Ohio Media Group. He was a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. (Romenesko) | Tom Gara will be deputy editor for BuzzFeed Business. He is the corporate news editor for The Wall Street Journal. (Recode) | David Gehring will be vice president of partnerships for Guardian News & Media. He was the head of global alliances and strategic partnerships for Google. (Release) | Job of the day: The Dallas Morning News is looking for a photographer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more


How mass layoffs in 2013 changed the lives of former Plain Dealer staffers

On July 31, 2013, after the layoff calls came, some of the current and now-former staff of The Plain Dealer got together for drinks at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland. Newsrooms around the country called in and bought drinks for those gathered — $4,933 worth of drinks, Eric Sandy reported the next day for Cleveland Scene.

That day, more than 50 people had been laid off from The Plain Dealer.

“We drank for free all night,” John Horton remembered.

“It was bittersweet because we were together, we were supporting each other but we knew that so many of us, myself included, were not going to be going back to the building ever again,” Ellen Kleinerman said.

Plain Dealer staff gather on July 31, 2013, layoff day. (Photograph by Lisa DeJong)

Plain Dealer staff gathered on layoff day: July 31, 2013. (Photograph by Lisa DeJong)

Kleinerman and Horton were there. So were Donald Rosenberg and John Mangels. One guy, Harlan Spector remembers, drove up from Pittsburgh just to lend a shoulder if needed. “It’s so touching that somebody would feel compelled to do that,” he said.

“It was strange, I guess it was sort of like a wake in a way, but everybody was very compassionate about everyone else’s situation,” Rosenberg, who covered arts and wine for the paper, said. “The people that survived were very empathetic of the people who were leaving. The people who were leaving were very concerned about what was going to happen next.”

“Our emotions were pretty raw, as you can imagine,” Mangels said. Although he said the night was “a bit of a blur, unfortunately,” he, too, remembers that it “felt like a wake,” but also a graduation. And more notable: “We didn’t talk shop, which was the normal topic when journalists gather. We talked about ourselves and our families, our fears and hopes for the future. I remember talking to one of the graphic artists, a talented guy who was hoping to reinvent himself as a long-haul trucker.”

“I think everyone realized that things were changing,” Horton said. “In a way you’re saying goodbye to a lot of people and the way things were and going into an unknown territory.”

“I think we all were aware that it was the last time we’d be together as newspaper journalists, but that we’d always share that bond,” Mangels said.

One year later, we’ve caught up with some of those journalists who were laid off from The Plain Dealer. We couldn’t get every story, and we’d like to hear more: Email if you have one to share.

John Horton: ‘I was making a long-term decision’

John Horton (submitted photo)

John Horton (submitted photo)

Being a reporter was John Horton’s dream job. In elementary school, he delivered the paper for three years, lugging the heavy bag with newspapers up and down Cleveland streets. He worked at The Plain Dealer for 14 years. During the last five years, Horton wrote a column called “Road Rant,” writing about people’s complaints about issues including bad roads and potholes. One year ago, Horton took a voluntary buyout.

“I was making a long term decision,” he said.

“I was going to bet on what they were doing, or I was going to bet on my ability to transition into another career.”

A few weeks later, Horton started his current job in media relations at Cuyahoga Community College. Now, he still works with journalists and looks for good stories. Horton didn’t leave with hard feelings, he said.

“I loved every day that I was there.”

After the layoffs, Horton started running with his 13-year-old son. It cleared his head. He still runs nearly every day, has lost 20 pounds in the past year and ran a half-marathon. He truly enjoys what he’s doing now, he said, but “to be honest, there aren’t a lot of of jobs that are cooler than being a reporter. I mean, that’s what Superman was.”

“I miss the daily challenge that you had, the feeling that you were doing something larger that made a big difference, fighting that fight every day,” Horton said. “I think journalism is one of the few jobs that really has that aspect to it.”

He doesn’t miss the situation at The Plain Dealer or the stress, though. No job comes with guarantees, but for him, the day-to-day worries about what was coming next were too much.

“Leaving that was a relief.”

Ellen Kleinerman: ‘It was a calling’

(Ellen Kleinerman, submitted photo.)

(Ellen Kleinerman, submitted photo.)

Ellen Kleinerman didn’t realize how stressful the months leading up to the layoffs were until it was all over. Kleinerman, who worked for The Plain Dealer for 14 years, did not volunteer for the layoffs.

“I was just an emotional mess,” she said. “It wasn’t just a job for me. It was a career. It was a calling. It was something that I would get up every day and feel like, this is what I want to do. It just was more than a job.”

Kleinerman, who covered medical issues when the layoffs happened, did a lot of networking after she recovered from the news. She freelanced. Then, in February, she drove for an hour through a snowstorm to get to calling hours for a friend’s mother. The whole time she thought, “I’m really crazy to do this. I should just turn around. She’ll understand if I don’t attend. But it’s the right thing to do.”

There, Kleinerman bumped into another colleague who was starting a new job at a chain of weekly newspapers. That chain was looking for a new editor.

One month after applying, Kleinerman went in for an interview.

“So now I’m in newspapers again,” she said. “It’s different, but it’s exciting.”

Kleinerman is the editor of the Chagrin Valley Times, the Solon Times and the Geauga Courier.

Kleinerman has seen a lot of change in 30 years as a reporter and editor. She still reads The Plain Dealer, and she misses it. But she doesn’t miss the stress.

“I guess there’s life after The Plain Dealer,” she said. “And it can be an OK life.”

Bob Fortuna: ‘I don’t miss it. How sad is that?’

About five months after high school sports reporter Bob Fortuna left The Plain Dealer, he was selected for the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame alongside his former colleague, Tim Rogers.

A story about the honor ran at, but no reporter at the newspaper reached out to him for it. Still, said Fortuna, who covered high schools for 36 years and worked at The Plain Dealer since 1990, “It was a nice way to finish.”

Bob Fortuna

Bob Fortuna

Now, Fortuna’s a one-man interior painting and landscaping business. A realtor friend has set him up with clients, and he’s getting work from former Plain Dealer colleagues, too.

“Since I was at The Plain Dealer, I haven’t seen the chiropractor once,” he said. “I used to go once a month.” His headaches are gone, and he dropped 25 pounds. “Mentally and physically, this is the best I’ve felt in 15 years.”

Since volunteering to leave, Fortuna has turned 60 and celebrated 30 years of marriage with his wife. “There is life after The Plain Dealer, believe it or not,” he said. “And that life ain’t too bad, either.”

Fortuna misses the athletes and the coaches from his beat, but says he doesn’t miss dealing with parents and the media frenzy around National Signing Day.

And when it comes to painting, Fortuna immediately knew that was the path forward after ending his career at a job that was increasingly demanding. He always enjoyed painting — “I just never had the time to do it,” he said. “With the social media thing, they want you 24/7. You don’t have a life.” His wife “saw what it was doing to me. She said, ‘you gotta get outta there.’” So he volunteered to go.

“People ask me if I miss it, and I don’t miss it,” he said. “How sad is that?”

John Mangels: ‘I think we had some success’

John Mangels

John Mangels

“I’m still kind of coming to terms with the fact that I’m not and probably never will be again a newspaper journalist,” John Mangels said. Mangels found a job as a communications manager for the Cleveland Clinic after a couple months of looking.

“I was fairly fortunate,” Mangels said. The time off “was tough psychologically, but I was fortunate to go back,” he said. At the new gig, he oversees production of more than 10 print products.

“I use a lot of the same muscles that I did as a newspaper journalist,” Mangels said.

Mangels volunteered for the layoffs list but said he found the job market to be “grim.”

“For someone who has skills that I thought would be translatable … people weren’t beating a path to my door, let’s just say it that way.” He said he was “really lucky to thread the needle. I found a job in Cleveland,” one he not only likes but that lets him continue to write.

Mangels was a science writer for the newspaper and helped organize a campaign called Save The Plain Dealer, a preemptive strike against any plans to cut staff at The Plain Dealer. The paper’s owner, Advance, had made wrenching changes at many of its other properties as it prepared to become a digitally focused organization.

“We’d known, deep down, from the beginning of the campaign that the odds of preserving the paper as it existed were long, probably impossible,” Mangels said. “But it was important to us to try — to alert the community to what was happening, and to try to mitigate some of the more drastic things Advance was planning. I think we had some success.”

John Luttermoser: Working on projects with meaning

John Luttermoser

John Luttermoser

John Luttermoser worked at The Plain Dealer for 21 years as a copy editor. Before that he worked at the St. Petersburg Times. Now he’s “working part-time as business administrator for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, a regional group of Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations in the Cleveland area,” he writes in an email. “I’m also doing some free-lance editing and I’ve continued my volunteer work as secretary of the board for the Dougbe River Presbyterian School, which opened in 2012 in a remote region of eastern Liberia that didn’t previously have a school.”
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Peggy Turbett: ‘Photography has never been more important’

Peggy Turbett (submitted photo)

Peggy Turbett (submitted photo)

Peggy Turbett worked for 13 years as a staff photographer at The Plain Dealer. Her first plan, after learning she’d been laid off, was to work as a reading tutor at an elementary school once a week, “to decompress, I guess, and then figure out the rest as it came along,” she said in an email.

That tutoring gig turned into an after-school camera club that met twice a week for four months. During the time, she said, she got a call asking if she’d teach photojournalism at John Carroll University. A colleague from The Plain Dealer who also taught there suggested Turbett.

“That kind of networking has been crucial,” she said. “If someone asked me to lunch or dinner, I went. Invited to join a local professional women’s group – I did. I also filled out my camera gear with an additional camera body and long lens to handle professional freelance assignments. In the past year I’ve photographed weddings, anniversaries, holiday portraits, high school sports programs, and magazine stories.”

Now, she has several photo projects and continues teaching as an adjunct. Turbett misses the salary and benefits, but not the schedule.

“The interesting dichotomy is that photography has never been more important – visuals are needed in every industry and social media outlet,” Turbett said. “But the prospect for veteran photojournalists to find jobs at daily newspapers is grim to none, from what I’ve seen. The New York Daily News just laid off David Handschuh, with three decades of experience, a former president of NPPA, and who was gravely injured while covering the 9/11 World Trade Center attack for the paper. I mean, really, how can any staff photojournalist feel safe?”

Scott Shaw: Business is booming

Scott Shaw worked at The Plain Dealer for 23 years. He writes in an email: “I’ve been very busy working on my wedding and portrait photography business. I started about five years ago on the side in anticipation of the industry issues. I volunteered to be laid off and it has been a fun challenge! I plan on doing more commercial and photojournalism work in the future but right now I don’t have spare time for that.”

Margaret Bernstein: Making a living ‘while doing good’

(Margaret Bernstein, submitted)

(Margaret Bernstein, submitted)

Margaret Bernstein was a few weeks away from her 24th anniversary with the Plain Dealer when she took the voluntary buyout. Bernstein wrote a column twice a week that was “solution-oriented,” she said in an email, informing people how they could make a difference in the city, “particularly with helping people get out of poverty.”

Her job led to research on issues such as literacy and parent mentoring, and Bernstein thought with all she knew, she could make a living while “doing good.”

“I am now a self-employed consultant, and my ‘call to action’ style has become my brand,” Bernstein said. “I helped design and am currently promoting a ‘Top 10 Ways You Can Improve Literacy In Greater Cleveland’ campaign for a local organization, The Literacy Cooperative. I’m also facilitating the spread of the Little Free Library ‘movement’ in Cleveland.” She’s also working to finish a book she has spent 12 years working on about Cleveland activist Yvonne Pointer. Read more

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