Category Archives: Labor

Blood on the newsroom floor, still flowing

With the biggest recent news coming from the Tribune Publishing, who holdings include the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

From CNNMoney

The long-anticipated staff cuts at The Los Angeles Times will begin this week and will likely target at least one-tenth of the paper’s newsroom, CNNMoney has learned.

On Monday, Tribune Publishing (TPUB) announced a new “Employee Voluntary Separation Program” (read: buyouts) and warned that “there may or may not be a need for additional involuntary reductions” (read: layoffs) if Tribune fails to meet its staff reduction goals.

The cuts will come across Tribune Publishing, which owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and some regional papers. But no paper is expected to be harder hit than the Times. At least 50 editorial positions are expected to be cut, whittling the Times newsroom down to fewer than 450 staffers, sources with knowledge of the situation said.


Tribune employees will have until October 23 to submit buyout applications. If Tribune does not meet its staff reduction goals by then, it will move to layoffs.

More from Kevin Roderick at LAObserved:

Employees at the Los Angeles Times have until Oct. 23 to apply for the new buyout offer unveiled today and being sent to homes this week. Just about everyone on staff for at least a year is eligible to apply. It comes with a big inducement for older staffers. If you are still working at the paper on Dec. 31, you will no longer receive any retiree medical coverage should you stay at the paper long enough to retire. If you leave before Dec. 31, you will get the previously promised retiree medical coverage (for as long as the company still offers that benefit.)

This is for all of the Tribune Publishing’s newspapers and there’s no attempt to hide that this is about reducing costs. The company’s stock price is in the tank and revenues are down, especially in Los Angeles, apparently. I expect to see a lot of more senior LAT staffers take this buyout, especially now with the retirement inducement. Apparently the severance portion will be paid out as salary rather than as a lump sum, so the tax bite is lessened and health benefits are retained during the payout time. If I am reading that correctly. It’s unknown exactly how many people the LA Times will allow to leave, but speculation is that the target dollar figure adds up to between 50 and 80 positions.

Beantown journalists are also facing the chop, as Boston magazine reports:’s rough month continued on Tuesday when a dozen staffers were let go in an afternoon bloodletting at the Boston Globe-owned property.

The news of layoffs comes a day after the site’s former editor-in-chief Tim Molloy left and less than a week after it was announced that general manager Corey Gottlieb would depart for the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings. Gottlieb was one of the people who spoke to employees when they were informed they were being let go, according to those familiar with the situation.

The pair were replaced by former Boston magazine digital editor Kaitlyn Johnston and Eleanor Cleverly,’s executive director of digital strategy and operations.

The disaster plaguing print is hitting alternative as well as mainstream papers, as in this instance covered by CityLab:

Philadelphia City Paper will cease to exist on October 8, according to Wednesday’s announcement by Broad Street Media, the new owner of what it describes as the publication’s “intellectual property.” It was only after that article (which resembles a press release) was posted online at one of the company’s outlets that City Paper’s editorial staff actually found out—not by hearing from anyone in charge, but from a flood of texts from friends and requests for comment from other media outlets.

The end always seemed around the corner during my roughly four years at City Paper, where I was a staff reporter until this spring. The page count had long since shrunk into the mid-double digits. Last summer, we were sold to the company that owns Metro, a free daily newspaper that in depth, style, and frequency of publication was our antithesis. Now Metro has turned over the paper to Broad Street Media, where it will be absorbed by the long-ago-eviscerated Philadelphia Weekly. I have no idea what that means except that City Paper editorial staff has been laid off, and that alarmingly, according to a post by my former colleagues, they expect the paper’s web archives will “vanish along with us.”

Next up, the nation’s largest newspaper conglomerate has announced yet another round of cuts, reports news media blogger Jim Romenesko:

A Romenesko reader writes: “I am not eligible for the early retirement buyout, but several of my colleagues are. They feel like they are now being pressured to take it, even though it’s supposed to be completely voluntary.

“They also see this line as a veiled threat: ‘If we don’t achieve our goals, we will need to re-evaluate where we stand and we can’t rule out implementing other actions in the future.’”

Dave Harmon
Chief People Officer

As mentioned earlier – the program is completely voluntary. We will finalize acceptances after the 45-day consideration period has closed, which is Oct. 12, 2015.

A notable California print closing will sees the end of the San Francisco-based California Lawyer, reports Romenesko:

California Lawyer, which called itself “the nation’s leading legal magazine,” has been killed by parent company Daily Journal Corporation.09Cover-210×276 Two employees confirmed that the memo below was distributed on Wednesday. I’m still trying to find out how many people lost jobs. Please email me if you have information. UPDATE: A tipster writes: “The toll is seven full-time staff: Editor, a senior editor, associate editor, copy chief, design director, art director and production manager.”

At 9:30 this morning a representative from the Daily Journal Corporation announced to staff that CALIFORNIA LAWYER would cease publication in the print and digital editions, as of the October issue.

Termination for all staff is immediate, as of September 30, 2015. At the close of work today our email will no longer function.

Finally, there’s another hemorrhaging plaguing the nation’s Fourth Estate, signaled by a new survey from Gallup, “Americans’ Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low”:

BLOG Papers

The Empire Report: The corrupt Saudi state

In her latest edition of The Empire Files, Abby Martin takes on the corrupt Saudi royal house and their brutal campaigns of repression and class warefare, armed and supported by Barack Obama’s government.

Sexual repression, assassinations of labor leaders, and massacres of political protesters have been part of the House of Saud’s leadership style for generations, and Abby Martin lays it all out in context.

From Telesur English:

The Real House of Saud – Saudi Arabia’s Oil-For-Tyranny

Program notes:

Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people’s history of resistance to it. With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair.

Chart of the day: The European Union’s jobless

The latest numbers f[PDF] rom Eurostat reflect rates for individual nations of the EU, as well as [dark bars} the overall rates for the 28-nation EU and the smaller 19-member common currency [euro] zone. Click on the image to enlarge

BLOG Eurojobs

Chart of the day: Chinese rank their own woes

From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center:

Microsoft Word - Pew Research Center China Report FINAL Septembe

Blood on the Newsroom Floor — still flowing

It’s been far too long since we’ve posted, a delay caused by a concatenation of personal crises, and we doubt we’ll be posting at our previous volume, but some recent developments in the journalism world merit at least a mention.

Journalism as a way for a serious young student of the world to make a respectable living is virtually dead, as evidenced by the latest flurry of layoffs to hit the craft [and, no, journalism is not a profession, in part because the First Amendment forbids it].

The simple fact is that paying jobs, except for a few survivors at Big Name institutions, are fading away, with so-called citizen journalists [i.e., unpaid] replacing them. So forget about expensive investigations, with five- and six-figure sums can be shelled out in pursuit of stories, with no guarantee of results in advance. It’s far cheaper to stalk celebrities and print corporate handouts. . .

Okay, with the grumbling out of the way, let’s get on to the latest body counts.

First up, from the Poynter MediaWire, graphic evidence that half the nation’s newsroom jobs have vanished in the last quarter-century, falling from nearly 60,000 in 1990.

BLOG Layoffs

Poynter reports:

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.

And what about those who still hold jobs?

The outlook is grim, as noted in another Poynter MediaWire report:

Those who remain have suffered from industrywide wage stagnation, with journalists at many traditional media companies not seeing real pay raises since the 2008 recession and classified ad revenue crash. Health insurance cost increases, furloughs, and 401(k) and other benefit cuts have actually meant a pretty significant pay cut for most.

And for a case in point, consider the journalists of  the Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register, as the United Media Guild reports:

The UMG has been negotiating a first contract at the newspaper for three years. Many veteran journalists at the newspapers have gone eight years without a raise. In its latest offer, GateHouse Media essentially offered a pay cut — since its offer included no raises and increased health insurance costs that would far outstrip the modest signing bonuses.

And now, the latest news bad news

First up, the New York Daily News has been laying off journalists right and left this month — close to 50 at last count — as the paper’s circulation numbers continue a precipitous decline from more than one million daily to around 300,000 today

The NYDN once boasted the nation’s largest daily circulation. . .

Another newspaper that once owned the same honors continues its own precipitous decline, the Los Angeles Times.

An estimated 80 jobs are due to face the chop in the 500-strong Times newsroom. Just ten years earlier the paper boasted a newsroom staff of a thousand. While in 1999, circulation topped a million a day, by the end of last year the number was down to a mere 370,000.

The Tribune corporation, owner of the Times, bought out the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this year, promptly laying off a third of its workforce. Of the 178 let go, most came from the paper’s press room following the decision to print the San Diego paper on the Times’s presses. Only nine of 173 editorial staffers got the chop.

More layoffs are expected at other Tribune Publishing papers, including the flagship Chicago Tribune, in part because company stock has plunged over the past 12 months from a high in December of $23.73 to today’s $8.07.

One fifth of the full-time newsroom employees of NOLA Media Group, publisher of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, were axed earlier this month, with additional cuts hitting part-timers and regional correspondents.

From the paper’s website:

NOLA Media Group announced today that it is restructuring its news operation to reinforce its core journalistic mission. The changes are designed to focus on topics that are important to readers and have driven the substantial readership growth of, making it one of the country’s top local news websites.

The restructuring will also lead to operational efficiencies and will result in an overall reduction of 28 full-time and 9 part-time content staffers – or 21 percent of the overall content operation’s full-time employees, according to NOLA Media Group President Ricky Mathews.

In Pennsylvania, the owners of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette negotiated buyouts, making offers to 120 employees, many if not most in the paper’s dwindling newsroom. At least the paper held a party for their departing staff.

And consider the case of one small paper, located on rich turf:

It’s now a yearly ritual: The Palm Beach Post‘s publisher is about to visit with the owners of the dying newspaper in Atlanta to find out how many more layoffs are coming in the fall.

Publisher Tim Burke announced his upcoming trip during a recent staff meeting in the near-empty headquarters of the media organization on South Dixie Highway, saying there’s little doubt layoffs are in the cards, according to an insider.

While the numbers are still being worked on, Gossip Extra hears at least 11 people could lose their jobs, maybe more.

The website notes that the Post has shed 75 percent of its staff in the last decade.

Wire services aren’t immune from the woes afflicting their subscribers, with Bloomberg the latest to impose cuts, as Talking Biz News reported 1 September:

Layoffs at Bloomberg’s editorial operations began Tuesday morning and totaled 55 in the United States — much less than the 80 to 100 estimates that had been reported earlier this month.

The cuts hit the Washington newsroom and the sports desk the hardest. Bloomberg had also conducted some layoffs in Washington in August 2014. Bloomberg News had also made some layoffs in November 2013.

The woes are also being felt north of the border, where, as CBC News reported Thursday:

Montreal news institution La Presse announced on Thursday 158 people would be leaving the newspaper, including 43 positions within its editorial department.

Of the 158, 102 of the positions are permanent, full-time jobs. . .

There will be 633 staff members left at La Presse after the laid-off staff leave.

Back on this side of the border, even public television is under the gun, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazettte reports:

WQED Multimedia will cut staff and executives’ salaries to trim millions in long-term debt.

The company’s board Thursday approved a three-year restructuring plan that includes reducing staff — which was about 60 full-time employees before up to a reported 17 layoffs began Thursday morning — as well as reducing executives’ salaries and revamping its dwindling lineup of locally produced television and FM radio programming.

Among those out of a job is Michael Bartley, producer and on-air host, who six days ago accepted a Mid-Atlantic Emmy award on behalf of WQED. Also included were on-air talent Tonia Caruso and producer Pierina Morelli, both of whom have won numerous awards.

All in all, it’s been a very bad year for the Fourth Estate, with no rays of hope visible on the horizon.

Map of the day: The neocon’s anti-labor agenda

The latest victory of the anti-union Right brings half the nation’s states into its corporate-dominated fold From Reuters:

BLOG Labor

Lee Judge: Yo, dude, wanna go serfing?

From the editorial cartoonist of the Kansas City Star:

BLOG Cartoon jobsWe’ll leave the commentary to Sen. Bernie Sanders:

Robin Hood in Reverse