Category Archives: Community journalism

Charts of the day: The slow death of print


Two of a series of charts from a new report from the Pew Research Center illustrate the ongoing, agonizing death of the American newspaper.

Asked where they had turned for news during the last 24 hours Boomers, those most closely linked to the traditional print media, revealed this pattern:

BLOG Boomers

And the responses from Gen Xers:

BLOG Boomers xers

Before the Internet, there really were tubes


From the Santa Monica Evening Outlook‘s pneumatic tube system, a leather-capped cylinder used to convey story text, headlines, page layouts, and so much move. The tubes vanished when the paper moved from downtown Santa Monica to an industrial neighborhood. The building demolished in 1979 after it was taken by a friendly eminent domain action to make way for Santa Monica Place, a new indoor mall designed by a trendy young architect, Frank Gehry.

When we moved out, we grabbed one of the tubes, sensing that we were capturing an icon from a vanishing era, the world of linotypes and letterpresses.

This is the only photo we’ve posted that’s been substantially altered by Photoshop, an exception evoked by the subject itself:

26 February 2012, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.5

26 February 2012, Nikon D300, ISO 320, 60 mm, 1/1600 sec, f3.5

Arizona Tea Party hates the First Amendment


Tucson citizen journalist Dennis Gilman has become the bane of the the radical right in the Grand Canyon State, relentlessly documenting the activities of neo-Nazi hate groups, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the state’s Tea Party movement.

His videos and writings have been widely featured in the states alternative media, earning him a major profile in the Phoenix New Times.

A video he’s just posted to his YouTube vlog offers a chilling view of the state’s Tea Party set, captured the hostile ambience at a rally held Saturday on the grounds of the state capitol in Phoenix.

Note that one of the Tea Party crowd who orders Gilman to leave declares that the videographer has no right there because he’s on “private property.” He’s not, but if the event had been held on the grounds of the nearby legislative office buildings, he’d have been right. The state sold the buildings [PDF] three years ago, then leased them back from the new corporate owners.

As the video makes clear, the Tea Party crowd holds no truck with the First Amendment’s right to peaceably assemble, nor with the rights of the free press.

Here’s the video, with Gilman’s comments:

Violent Tea Party Mob Attacks Media. (Raw)

His notes:

This was filmed on the public lawn of the Arizona State Capitol on September 7, 2013 where the “We Are America Tour” added Arizona racist, former State Senate President . . .Russell Pearce. Pearce is famous for SB1070 and his association and endorsement of neo-Nazi JT Ready, who killed an entire family before killing himself in 2012. The local racists have worked closely with FAIR for years. I was there to film the speakers. It’s a safe guess that if Minute Man Founder Chris Simcox wasn’t sitting in jail for multiple counts of child molestation that he would’ve been a speaker at this event also. Is it any wonder why they didn’t want the “liberal Media” filming them? For my own safety, I refused to leave without a police escort. It took over 7 minutes for any law enforcement to arrive. The video is edited only for length.

Image of the day: Newspocalypse Now


The home page of the online edition of the Baltimore Sun, where news is apparently in a state of total eclipse. Via Jim Romenesko:

BLOG Newspocalypse Now

A future for community journalism, or not


In the last decade, a third of newspaper reporting positions have vanished, along with half of newspaper advertising dollars, raising this question: Is there a future to the journalism trade?

Here’s a talking head discussion from C-Span’s The Communicators with Peter Slen sparked by the acquisition of the Washington Post by Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos.

One of the discussants is an industry consultant who also teaches at the UC Berkeley journalism school, while the other is an industry scribe for Bloomberg News.

The real question remains: Will Americans find a way to fund community news? We hope so, but the outlook isn’t good.

The Communicators: The Future of the Newspaper Industry

The program notes:

Alan Mutter, newspaper consultant, and Edmund Lee, Bloomberg News Media Reporter, talk about the newspaper ownership and the future of newspapers and the newspaper industry.

Mutter’s blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur, is a regular esnl read.

That was then: Online newspapers, pre-WWW


San Francisco television station KRON broadcast an optimistic take on how home computers would change the way news is delivered. This clip from 1981 reveals both the technological advances and hints of the potential impacts on the daily press:

Greg Sandoval of C|net writes:

The service was crude by today’s standards. The process of transferring a full digital newspaper to a computer took two hours. The service charged $5 an hour so it meant spending $10 to obtain a paper that could be had for 20 cents at the corner newsstand. Still, KRON reported that of the 2,000 to 3,000 home computer users in the Bay Area, 500 had indicated interest.

It was early to be sure. Mainstream adoption of the PC was still a few years away and the Internet as we know it was still more than a decade in the future.

But the process should have given newspapers a rudimentary understanding of the power of digital distribution. History shows the sector was slow to react to the rise of the Internet. Now, surveys show much of the public prefers receiving news from Web-based sources over newspapers, and many of the country’s most prestigious papers are in financial trouble. Some papers, including The Christian Science Monitor have stopped publishing some print editions.

Read the rest.

We recall the computer systems shown in the clip, and the old acoustic modems that used telephone microphones and speakers to send the data at an incredibly slow pace.

By way of reference, we acquired our first personal computer the same year KRON ran the story, and had we been in the Bay Area at the time, we’d have been part of a very small group. Now the average phone is vastly more powerful and faster than the desktop machines in the clip.

Charts of the day: The media and the messengers


From the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press [PDF], first a look at the importance people assign to journalists:

[Title]

And, from the same report, evidence of the decline in print, which still provides much of the basis for reports in other media:

[Title]

Chart of the day: Newspaper advertising plunge


From the Newspaper Association of North America via the Pew Research Center:

BLOG Print ad plunge

Chart of the day: Local TV news viewers decline


From a new report by the Pew research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism:

BLOG TV News

NSA Spying: But is it good for the ‘Ray People’?


Way back in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, reporters working nights often received phone calls from troubled folks insistent that government spies [ours or “theirs”] were using secret rays to read their minds.

Never mind that most of the folks so afflicted had little in their minds worth ray extraction. They were convinced, and no rational argument would disabuse them of their illusions.

We remember in particular one fellow who called the newsroom of the short-lived Tucson Daily American back in 1967, complaining that “Red Chinese have taken over the grocery store on the corner, and they’re using to control my mind with black rays.”

It being a slow night and we being without any pressing duties, we allowed our caller to indulge himself in what turned out to be a florid, fluent, and effulgent cascade of paranoiac ideation.

We interviewed him just as we would have a non-paranoid caller, and found ourselves continuously amazed at the peculiar internal coherence and rationality of his rant.

The details are long faded from memory, merged with those of a dozen or so similar callers over the years. One thing stands out from each instance: Each caller was invariably the very last person real wielders of mind-controlling rays would ever seek to influence.

Another category of folks was both more numerous and slightly more plausible, folks who weren’t threatened with transformation into ray robots. These folk were those who merely insisted they were being spied on by Uncle Sam, their phones tapped, their mail opened. And some of these people would later turn out to be correct; the FBI really was wiretapping and bugging, and without benefit of legal cover.

But most of the folks who feared wiretapping, eavesdropping, and mail-reading were like the ray people, so insignificant in the scheme of things as to be irrelevant to the folks with the real power to invade their lives.

For this latter group, the revelation that their communications really are being captured and stored away in technological catacombs may actually be therapeutic. Or so speculates David Kimhy, director of the Experimental Psychopathology Lab at Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry in an interview by Caitlin Shure of Scientific American:

“If you think the American government is spying on you, that’s one thing,” says Kimhy. “If you think it’s Russian intelligence, that wouldn’t have the same impact.” Still, he clarifies that in cases of individuals whose delusional narratives involve something resembling the NSA’s PRISM program, certainly, real-life manifestations of imagined threats could interact with symptoms of psychosis.

“Another piece of information added to other information, real or imagined, naturally would add some stress,” says Kimhy. However, he speculates that current events could alternatively offer a therapeutic benefit in such cases.

“The thought that the government is following everyone, in a paradoxical way, may take away from the delusion,” says Kimhy. Individuals with persecutory delusions usually feel that they are unique targets; thus, the broad net of surveillance that is so troubling to the NSA’s critics might reduce feeling of persecution in an individual who previously believed the government was only after him. Indeed, the therapist might use this broadness as a context in which to discuss the patient’s delusions. “You could ask, ‘What’s so unique to you? What special powers do you have? And by the way, why don’t we talk about those special powers,’” says Kimhy.

Read the rest.

In other words, as folks used to quip back in the ’60′s, “You may be paranoid, but they really are out to get you. Or at least your metadata.”

B ut he still doesn’t answer the real question, “Is it good for the Ray People?”

The dying art of the photographic darkroom


A short video about a dying art from The Guardian:

The program notes:

Mysterious, even magical — there are few spaces quite like the photographer’s darkroom, not least because, with the march of digital technology, it is rapidly becoming part of photographic history. Artist Richard Nicholson has set out to capture these fast-disappearing spaces, photographing darkrooms — and the memories they hold — across London.

We souped our first film in the Lincoln Junior High School darkroom and our last a dozen years later in the darkroom of the late, lamented Oceanside Blade-Tribune.

In between, we shot thousands of images, transforming a few hundred into images that appeared in the pages of three newspapers. We didn’t stop shooting, but much of our later work was color, processed in professional labs, or, as now, digital and brought into being on a bright computer screen rather than a chemically scented darkroom.

The greatest darkroom artist we ever met was Bill Beebe, a skilled shooter who could’ve worked for national publications but chose instead to shoot and write for his hometown paper, the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. Watching him at work printing my own shots was revelatory. No motion was wasted, and decisions that took us minutes were made instantly and expertly, with a perfect print delivered every time. . .a far different scenario than our own less skillful darkroom endeavors.

The advance of digital technology has revolutionized photography, with bits of code replacing the skills and calculation that had taken years to develop.

Chart of the day: No faith in newspapers


Some truly bad news for ink-stained wretches today from Gallup, graphic proof that the massive layoffs and all-too-numerous closings of the nation’s newspapers are taking their toll:

BLOG Newspaper confidencer

California lawmakers fight open records rules


Yet another major threat to the nation’s badly weakened and downsized news media.

From Peter Scheer of the California First Amendment Coalition:

GOV. BROWN: VETO CPRA THREATS IN BUDGET BILL

The California Public Records Act (CPRA) is gravely threatened by stealth amendments revealed for the first time yesterday as part of a “trailer bill” to the new state budget. Instead of the relatively minor cost-saving tweaks proposed earlier by the Governor and approved in legislative committees, the actual amending language will gut key transparency safeguards in California’s most important open-government law.

I am writing to ask you to call on Governor Brown to veto the relevant portions of the budget trailer bill that is headed to his desk as early as tomorrow. We invite you to do this by email to the Governor office, using the form provided in this email.

How, exactly, will the budget trailer bill undercut the CPRA and set back open government?

1)  Public access to data controlled by local governments, so important to open-data and big-data initiatives, will come to an end. The final trailer bill, SB 71, eliminates the requirement of existing law that agencies must make available “electronic”  records or information in “any format” in which the agency already holds them. Gov Code sec. 6253.9(a)(1).  Instead, according to SB 71, “the local agency may determine the format  of electronic data to be provided in response to a request for information.”

This change will empower local governments to limit data access to situations in which the requested data will show government agencies and officials in a positive light. All other requests for data will be blocked by producing data in formats that are unusable in databases. Example: Requests for data held in .xls (Excel) or .csv formats will be produced (if at all) as .pdf files–even though the agency has the data in the requested formats and therefore can provide it in the requested formats at no cost.

2)  Local governments, when denying written requests for public records, will no longer be required to give a reason for the denial. SB 71 purports to make that common sense requirement (found in Gov Code sec. 6255(b)) completely optional.  What does optional mean? You can be sure that all lawyers for cities, counties or school boards,once they become aware of this change, will advise their clients to give no reasons for denying records.

3)  Local governments may even take the position that SB 71′s changes free them from any obligation to communicate–at all!—with requesters about the status of a denied CPRA request. Agencies that believe requested records are exempt from disclosure could elect to say nothing to the requester, leaving him/her in the dark, unable to determine–without suing–whether the requested records will be disclosed or withheld.

Tell Governor Brown to veto the provisions of SB 71 that would effect these changes in existing law. The link below opens an email form with an email message for the Governor and his staff (which we will print out and deliver). You can use the email message content provided or delete it and write an email in your own words.
FAC@firstamendmentcoalition.org

To view section 4 of SB 71 dealing with the CPRA, use this link: SB 71 Excerpt Relating to CPRA

Chart of the day: The slow death of journalism


Via Confessions of a Newsosaur, dramatic evidence of the collapse of print newspaper circulation.

Click on the image to enlarge.

BLOG Journalism

Quote of the day: The slow death of journalism


From The State of the News Media 2013 by the Pew Research Center:

Estimates for newspaper newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30% since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978. In local TV, our special content report reveals, sports, weather and traffic now account on average for 40% of the content produced on the newscasts studied while story lengths shrink. On CNN, the cable channel that has branded itself around deep reporting, produced story packages were cut nearly in half from 2007 to 2012. Across the three cable channels, coverage of live events during the day, which often require a crew and correspondent, fell 30% from 2007 to 2012 while interview segments, which tend to take fewer resources and can be scheduled in advance, were up 31%. Time magazine, the only major print news weekly left standing, cut roughly 5% of its staff in early 2013 as a part of broader company layoffs.  And in African-American news media, the Chicago Defender has winnowed its editorial staff to just four while The Afro cut back the number of pages in its papers from 28-32 in 2008 to 16-20 in 2012. A growing list of media outlets, such as Forbes magazine, use technology by a company called Narrative Science to produce content by way of algorithm, no human reporting necessary. And some of the newer nonprofit entrants into the industry, such as the Chicago News Cooperative, have, after launching with much fanfare, shut their doors.

This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.

Headline and Quote of the day II: Another draft?


From the Hartford [Connecticut] Advocate:

Former Hartford Advocate Writer Brews Unemployed Reporter Porter

From the accompanying story by still-employed Advocate reporter Michael Hamad about the post-newsroom career of Jon Campbell:

“Porter style beers were first popularized in the nineteenth century by merchant sailors and manual dock laborers,” the label reads. “Unemployed Reporter is crafted in the same tradition, honoring a profession likewise doomed to decline and irrelevance.”

For this new class of “expendables,” the label goes on, “we’ve included chocolate and roasted barley malts that are as dark and bitter as the future of American journalism, and a high alcohol content designed to numb the pain of a slow, inexorable march toward obsolescence. While Unemployed Reporter is especially delicious as a breakfast beer, it’s still smooth enough to be enjoyed all day, every day. And let’s be honest: what else do you have going on?”

Journalism’s big bucks, honest and otherwise


It’s tough being a journalist these days, and with salaries frozen or cut, accompanied by mandatory furloughs, it’s getting harder to make ends meet.

RT’s Kristine Frazao and comedian Negin Farsad discuss one option open to some journalists, the art of the ecdysiast [a word coined by one of our favorite journalists, H.L. Mencken]:

We think the Houston society reporter may be on to something. What better way to learn about society than by witnessing its underbelly firsthand?

We have a great deal more faith in her reporting than, say, reporters and TV talking heads who take big bucks to speak to banking and corporate conclaves, the subject of an essay by Yves Smith at naked capitalism.

An excerpt:

We are much easier to manipulate than we want to believe. Social psychologist Robert Cialdini, in his classic book: Influence: The Art of Persuasion, reported that people who received a gift as minor as a can of soda were more receptive to a sales pitch. There’s a reason drug companies would give doctors pens, note pads, and desk toys.

And journalists have a much more basic problem. Most financial reporters spend a lot of time with senior people in the industry. Big firms already can sway coverage by playing the access journalism game and by artful packaging that seeks to frame the debate (or if you are Jamie Dimon, you just go on loudly and confidently about things that aren’t true). And a few notable exceptions, like Larry Summers, people in positions of influence are usually pretty smart and persuasive. I wrote after my visits to the Treasury that it took a day of two to detox. Journalists are in this every day. It’s not hard to see that even ones who are well intentioned are likely to have the relentless barrage of propaganda influence their thinking (although there are quite a few writers that readers can easily name whose pretenses of objectivity is pretty thin).

Read the rest.

Indeed, while the stripper’s job gives her insight in a sector of society most journalists either never see or admit to seeing, journalists who feed at the corporate and bankster trough merely get their egos flattered in return for what amounts to hush money.

We suspect the stripper journalist can tell us a lot more about the real world faced by the 99 percent than the journalists who grow fat off Big Money.

Blood on the Newsroom Floor: Carnage continues


Lots more newsroom gutting to report, and it’s only been six days since our last body count update.

And we’ve got television newsroom bloodletting, too.

More bodies to fall in Philly

With 45 bodies already hitting the newsroom floor earlier this month, Philadelphia’s daily newspapers are adding another 35 in months to come.

From David Gambacorta of the Philadelphia Daily News:

If misery does indeed love company, it would probably be right at home at Philadelphia Media Network Inc.

Managers of the company, which owns the Daily News, Inquirer, philly.com and SportsWeek, have proposed cutting 35 jobs within the next six months – on top of layoffs and buyouts that eliminated 45 jobs earlier this month.

The potential new round of cuts was detailed in a document, obtained yesterday by the Daily News, that outlined the terms of a potential sale of PMN by its current hedge-fund owners to an investor group now led by local businessmen Lewis Katz and George Norcross.

The letter of intent, dated March 20, from Katz and Norcross to Evercore Partners, which is managing the sale of the media company, puts the possible purchase price at $60 million.

According to the letter, the job cuts earlier this month cost PMN about $900,000 in severance.

The letter notes that the company’s senior managers explained in a presentation to the potential new owners last week that PMN would cut 35 additional jobs, which would cost about $200,000 in severance pay.

Read the rest.

More layoffs in Denver

The Denver Post, owned by MediaNews, the dominant publisher in California as well, is boosting its body count, but of the sixteen job cuts, only one is a journalist.

From the Denver Newspaper Guild:

On March 23, Denver Post management announced the elimination of 11 more positions.

Five metro home delivery districts will be eliminated resulting in the layoff of five district managers and five assistant district managers. The two-week window for volunteers in those positions to resign or retire with severance ends April 6

The effective dates of voluntary resignations or layoffs will be spread out. They will occur on April 23, May 21 and June 18 as the districts are eliminated.

The company also announced it is eliminating the Viva photographer position.

Bloomberg axes 35 TV newsies

The media empire owned by the mogul who also serves as mayor of somne city Back East is bringing out the chopping block.

From  of TV Newser:

TVNewser has learned Bloomberg TV has laid off up to 30 reporters, producers, associate producers, editors and other staffers this morning as the company shifts to a digital-centric newsroom. As TV employees are cut, Bloomberg plans to add 13 new positions and create a Digital Video Desk focused on moving video productions to web platforms, including tablets, smartphones and desktops. Among those let go, Cris Valerio, a San Francisco-based technology reporter and host of the weekly show “Venture,” which was canceled last year.

>snip<

Of the new jobs, to be posted soon, there are six new positions for digital producers and digital strategists, leaving a net loss of about 15 positions.

During the last staff cuts at Bloomberg in early 2009, more than 100 employees from the Radio and TV, including 45 at Bloomberg’s New York City headquarters, were laid off. Those cuts were overseen by then head of Bloomberg TV David Rhodes who is now president of CBS News.

Read the rest.

Uberconservative mag announces layoffs

Human Events is one of the old line publications of the Hard Right, and following their rock-ribbed Republican principles, they’re cutting jobs just because they can.

From Eddie Scarry of FishbowlDC:

Cathy Taylor is barely four months into her gig as the editor of Human Events and the conservative weekly is already facing a massive shakeup under her leadership.

Taylor recently terminated Tony Lee who spearheaded the publication’s election blog and also dropped Brian H. Darling, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a regular columnist for Continue reading

Blood on the Newsroom Floor: Los Angeles, Denver


An update to yesterday’s post on Los Angeles Times layoffs and a new report on layoffs at the Denver Post, which is owned by the same company that controls the lion’s share of California newspaper circulation.

Layoffs in Denver could signal another round of downsizing to come here in the Golden State.

Los Angeles Times, bodies falling

From Lucas Shaw of The Wrap:

The L.A. Times, mired in its fourth year of bankruptcy, went through yet another round of newsroom cuts on Tuesday, leaving its editorial staff unnerved by continuing cutbacks and an uncertain future.

The elimination of 12 to 20 positions was announced to the newsroom in December, but Tuesday’s cuts hit more departments than originally expected. This is just the latest in a wave of departures that has plagued the Times over the past several years.

Numerous insiders have described morale at the Times as at an all-time low.

Some of that is due to layoffs, but some is also attributable to the lack of resolution in the Tribune Company’s bankruptcy case. A judge will hear the Tribune’s latest proposal for a reorganization plan in May.

On Tuesday, Craig Turner, the No. 2 editor in arts and entertainment and a Times veteran of more than 40 years, volunteered for a buyout.

Shari Roan, a health writer for more than 22 years at the Times, was let go.

Read the rest.

Kevin Roderick of LA Observed has more on Turner’s departure:

Craig Turner, currently the Arts and Entertainment editor, confirms that he stepped forward for a buyout and will be retiring from the Los Angeles Times. He has been with the paper almost 41 years, as a reporter at the United Nations and in Canada and elsewhere, as Metropolitan Editor for several years, and in other positions. “This place has been great to me and I love and admire the people here, but after nearly 41 years there are other things I want to do while I can,” Turner emails.

Read the rest.

And this from Matthew Debord of KPCC radio in Los Angeles:

Layoffs have become a fact of life at the LAT, whose parent, Tribune Co., is still in bankruptcy. What appears to be going on now is that the paper is chopping back on its features and special sections, concentrating instead on news, business, sports, and entertainment — the core coverage areas. Three stand-alone weekly section, for example, were recently rolled into one Saturday section.

This happened at the same time the LAT announced the introduction of a paywall.

Read the rest.

Denver Post wields the chopper

The Post, which esnl read religiously way back in the 1950s and early 1960s, is the flagship paper of MediaNews Group Inc., a chain that counts among its holdings most of the newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area and many of those in the Los Angeles metropolitan region as well.

Layoffs in Denver could mean more in California.

From ColoradoPols:

More Layoffs Hit Declining Denver Post

That’s the word from our sources this morning–yesterday, responding to continuing declines in revenue, The Denver Post once again began laying off newsroom and editorial staff. We’ve learned that columnists Mike Littwin and Penny Parker were let go yesterday. The loss of Littwin in particular, one of the Denver Post’s best pickups from the ashes of the Rocky Mountain News, will greatly harm the landscape of political commentary in our state.

We’re told that the Post must cut some $500,000 in newsroom overhead, and that more layoffs are imminent throughout the organization. As soon as we have names, we’ll share them.

Read the rest.

More from Michael Roberts at West Word:

Earlier today, I reported that the Denver Post has laid off two of its most prominent staffers, Penny Parker and Mike Littwin; see our original post below. Shortly thereafter, I was able to reach Parker, who was blindsided by this unexpected move and still struggling to process it. From what she hears, though, more big changes at the paper could be on the way, and soon.

“Apparently, more is coming down today,” Parker says.

To put it mildly, Parker didn’t see the layoff coming. “Kick me in the head, seriously. I knew nothing, nothing. My poor, 33-year-old boss” — business editor Kristi Arellano — “had to tell me. I feel really bad for her. This is not what she signed on for.”

She adds that “I would have expected Greg Moore,” the Post’s editor, “to have called me. He didn’t, and I’m disappointed.”

Read the rest.

Blood on the Newsroom Floor: It’s flowing again


On today’s agenda: Major layoffs in two cities and the first signs of a cutbacks in a third that’s closer to home, plus the inevitable slashes at smaller publications and the death of one small newspaper chain.

One thing to note. While some of the numbers may seem small, the newsroom staffs are far smaller than just a few years ago, so the impacts will be disproportionately greater than the figures would first appear.

Chicago Tribune brings out the chopping block

The Tribune Co. Is still reeling from the $8.2 billion buyout by Sam Zell, which was funding on the backs on the workers through their Employee stock ownership plan.

Zell, who’s also Berkeley’s biggest private landlord, drove the chain into bankruptcy a year later, resulting in major cuts at its papers, including California’s leading daily, the Los Angeles Times.

This latest round of cuts follows the loss of ten newsroom staffers last month through buyouts. No word yet on any layoffs at the chain’s 23 television stations.

From Lynne Marek of Crain’s Chicago Business:

The Chicago Tribune cut about 15 editorial employees today as the media company continues to shrink its newsroom.

The employees dismissed included reporters, editors and managers, according to sources familiar with the layoffs. They follow an employee buyout last month and a round of staff reductions in July.

The paper, the biggest in the city and a unit of Chicago-based Tribune Co., is creating a leaner workforce to reduce costs and revive profits as it prepares to exit bankruptcy later this year under its new creditor-owners.

>snip<

“The Chicago Tribune does not publicly discuss internal personnel matters,” company spokesman Gary Weitman said. “Like most companies, the Tribune makes decisions about staff skills and composition based on customer needs and business conditions.”

Read the rest.

Layoffs begin today at Los Angeles Times

No idea yet how many will get the chop.

From Kevin Roderick of LA Observed:

The latest round of Los Angeles Times layoffs and other cuts began with at least one home phone call [Monday night]. Shari Roan, a health writer for the Times for 22 years, got the word that she’s on the list. She was a mainstay of the Health section that was recently eliminated.

Bad news in the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia’s metropolitan newspapers are on the auction block, and to sweeten the deal, layoffs are the order of the day.

From Mike Armstrong of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Philadelphia Media Network Inc. will lay off 19 unionized workers in its three newsrooms – four full-timers and 15 part-timers – and 21 additional newsroom employees have been approved for voluntary buyouts.

The layoffs of reporters, copy editors, multimedia content producers, and others at The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com would occur March 31. Five nonunion employees from the three newsrooms, including three from The Inquirer, also were laid off, bringing the total number of jobs being lost to 45.

In a statement, PMN said the layoffs and buyouts were a response to “the unfortunate economic conditions that continue to impact” the newspaper industry.

>snip<

PMN spokesman Mark Block would not discuss details of the financial condition of the company, citing its status as a privately held corporation. “The kind of revenue we have been generating has not been enough to sustain the personnel we have,” he said.

Read the rest.

More from Maryclaire Dale of the Associated Press:

Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers will lose 40 more newsroom employees this month, prompting union leaders. . .to accuse management of bungling a tablet computer launch, censoring stories and deriding print newspapers as “legacy products.”

The losses are just the latest setback for staffers, who have gone through repeated rounds of cutbacks and might soon have their fifth owner in six years.

A group of local powerbrokers and philanthropists hopes to buy Philadelphia Media Network from the New York hedge funds that took control after a 2010 bankruptcy auction. The sale price has plummeted from $515 million in 2006 to $139 million in 2009 to perhaps less than $70 million this year.

The hedge funds installed former Newsweek.com executive Greg Osberg as publisher in late 2010. The guild attacked his leadership in a sharply worded memo Thursday.

Read the rest.

The Phily layoffs appear to be striking hard at the papers’ minority staff.

From Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute:

The National Association of Black Journalists promptly protested the departures of Sarah J. Glover, president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and sportswriter John Mitchell.

“I am not entirely sure of the racial breakdown of the members but at leastSarah J. GloverSarah J. Glover three of those laid off and one of the volunteers who left only to be spared a layoff are journalists of color,” Dan Gross, Philadelphia Daily News reporter and president of the Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America Local 38010, told Journal-isms by email on Thursday.

Read the rest.

Alternative chain hacks away at journo staff

The whole notion of “alternative chain” is an oxymoron, a result of the relentless corporatization of the nation’s once free-wheeling and fiercely independent local alternatives to the corporate media of the 1960s and 1970s.

The latest round of cuts comes at the Creative Loafing chain — and how’s that for a corporate chain name?

From Rachel Kaufman of Media Jobs Daily:

Creative Loafing, the company that owns the Chicago Reader, City Paper, and Creative Loafing Atlanta, has announced cuts in staffing and pay at the three papers.

At CL Atlanta, four positions were let go. The paper is saying farewell Continue reading