Category Archives: MSM

Blood on the newsroom floor. . .

And a whole lot of it.

It’s been a while since we posted a roundup of layoffs and closings in the Fourth Estate, and there’s plenty of the first and some of the second to cover.

First, one of America’s largest newspaper companies just dropped a turkey into the laps of its workers, and just in time for Thanksgiving.

From the Los Angeles Times, one of the papers affected:

Tribune Publishing has approved buyouts for about 7% of its eligible 7,000 employees across its media portfolio, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC filing did not include the specific number of buyouts at each newspaper or the job functions. The Chicago-based company owns 11 major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and San Diego Union-Tribune, which it acquired in May for $85 million.

The separation plan, which will be funded through salary continuation extending through the first half of 2018, will result in a total charge of approximately $55 million for all related severance, benefits and taxes, the company said. Tribune Publishing will record a charge estimated at $47 million during the fourth quarter related to the buyouts.

Last day for workers who opt out? It’s 25 November, the day before Thanksgiving.

Newspapers & Technology reported 21 October on an earlier downsizing effort by Tribune Media:

The Casey Brown Company acquired The San Diego Union-Tribune’s headquarters in Mission Valley, California for $52 million from former U-T Publisher Doug Manchester.

When Tribune Media Company acquired The Union-Tribune from Manchester, the paper’s printing operations were moved to Los Angeles. The property in Mission Valley was not part of the sale and the paper announced it would be looking for office space downtown.

CBRE will be leasing the 13-acre property, which includes a 170,000-square-foot, five-story office building and a 190,000-square-foot, three-story industrial building, which was the newspaper’s printing plant.

Lots of bad news for the Fourth Estate in Pennsylvania.

First up, this from a 4 November announcement by the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia:

In an astonishing display of misdirected management, the Company today announced layoffs that decimate what just days ago the new publisher identified as the key to our future – digital reach and our unique print brand

Of the staff of 29, 17 Guild members will be gone as of Dec. 4.

At the Daily News, 10 reporters, including one as senior as 16 years, will be let go. Joining them in unemployment will be six copy editors, leaving one person to copy edit news (other than sports) and features. An editorial assistant that has served this company for 25 years is also among the casualties.

The Inquirer will lose five reporters, six copy editors and desk assistants, including an assigning editor, and one news artist.

More bad Pennsylvania news reported Tuesday by Poynter MediaWire:

Trib Total Media, which owns the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Valley News Dispatch, announced consolidation and layoffs on Tuesday in a memo.

As part of a strategic growth plan developed by our Board of Directors, we have decided to sharpen our focus through the sale and consolidation of several newspapers. We are consolidating the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Valley News Dispatch into one paper – the Tribune-Review.

That consolidation includes 153 layoffs, “this is in addition to 68 long-term employees who accepted the buyout offer we made in August.” In addition, the company indicated that if it doesn’t find “suitable buyers in the next 60 days” for two other papers, it will eliminate an additional 91 people. A press release notes that TTM will roll out several digital platforms next year, and that the company has a total of 1,100 full-and-part-time employees.

More bad news from Boston by way of the Daily Free Press, Boston University’s student paper:

When Sarah Roberts started working as a metro correspondent for The Boston Globe in July, she overheard her higher-ups discussing recent buyouts and upcoming layoffs. More recently, Roberts and her colleagues have noticed something different. Desks were cleared of yellowing newspapers, computer monitors were removed and picture frames were pulled from the walls of the copy editing department’s workspace.

In the past month, the Globe laid off nearly two dozen staff members in addition to the 17 who accepted a recent buyout. A majority of the layoffs came from the copy desk, which raises concern over the future of careers in traditional journalism in the landscape of changing media.

Lou Ureneck, a journalism professor in the College of Communication and former deputy managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, said the driving force behind the layoffs was business, not journalism.

If you’re wondering who was going to be filling the space left by those fallen journalists, the answer is corporate public relations spinners.

From a 9 November post by Newspapers & Technology:

The Boston Globe inked its first sponsored content deal with the Rockland Trust Company.

The campaign will run for 18-months and will feature Rockland Trust-sponsored content designed to educate business on how to successfully run, grow and overcome the challenges that arise as they expand. Rockland Trust will also sponsor the Globe’s Talking Points column. The written content will be authored by Boston Globe Media’s new content services business unit.

The sponsorship initiative also includes six business networking events, branded delivery truck wraps, poly bags and honor boxes. New Globe readers who sign up for a digital subscription service will receive a two-week free trial of courtesy of Rockland Trust.

Wednesday brought bad news for Connecticut print journalists. Covered by the New Haven Independent:

Another wave of layoffs has hit the New Haven Register, this time affecting copyeditors and sports staffers, among others.

Unlike in past layoffs, management refused to confirm details of the latest moves. Nor did management hold a newsroom meeting or distribute a companywide memo (another departure from past practice). So no firm numbers of layoffs were available. Register employees were left to sharing rumors and firsthand reports from laid-off coworkers all day Tuesday to gauge how hard their paper was hit this time.

According to people familiar with the layoffs, as many as 30 employees—certainly more than 20—are believed to have lost their jobs in New Haven and at the company’s Torrington daily paper and monthly Connecticut magazine.

There’s a whole lot more after the jump, with imminent newspaper closings in Minnesota, two newspapers folding in Ohio, layoffs in Atlanta and South Carolina, layoffs at a national newspaper, bad news for National Geographic, porn magazine layoffs, Canadian television journalists axed and a Canadian paper outsources, plus some collateral damage. . .all after the jump: Continue reading

Blood on the newsroom floor: California edition

From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, graphic evidence that print is dying. We suspect that most of these job losses are front the always-downsizing and frequenting closing newsrooms and news bureaus, and many of the other print jobs also flow from newspaper presses:

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Abby Martin on U.S. press subservience to Israel

No other foreign power exercises so tight a hold on American news media as does Israel, as we have learned firsthand [and previously].

So we were pleased to see that Abby Martin has devoted the latest edition of her Telesur English series the Empire Files to a look at how the media spins the conflict between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people.

From the Empire Files:

The Distortion & Death Behind Israel/Palestine Coverage

Program notes:

A crisis in Palestine is again all over the headlines. From stabbings and Molotov cocktails, to killing of protesters and anti-Arab lynch mobs — how much of the mass media coverage can we really trust?

Abby Martin takes a look at how the so-called “Israel-Palestine conflict” has been covered by the mainstream press during the last crisis in the region, and the variety of tactics employed by the state of Israel to control the narrative: from its Hasbara propaganda machine, to outright killing of journalists.

Featuring interviews with Dan Cohen (@DanCohen3000), investigative journalist who just returned from 7 months of reporting from Gaza and the West Bank, and Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhelek) writer and editor with Electronic Intifada.

Newspaper caption caper of the day

From the webpage of the Oakland Tribune, and would it have been worse if the staffer had sustained a broken her? Actually it was a broken hip, according to the linked story:

BLOG Ahhhh

Chris Hedges, fervently hoping for revolution

Chris Hedges rose to the summit of American journalism, winning a Pulitzer Prize and working as Mideast Bureau Chief for the New York Times at the time he resigned following discipline for speaking out against the invasion of Iraq, declaring “We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security.”

Since shedding his role as an exemplar of the mainstream media, Hedges has found a new calling as one of the country’s foremost critics of the media, and of the economic system in which they are based — a system which has produced an ongoing unemployment crisis and left most Americans struggling on the bring of poverty.

And now, in this interview with Vice News, Hedges admits to a fervent hope for a second American Revolution, a stance reflected in the title of his latest book,  Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.

From Vice News:

Chris Hedges on What it Takes to be a Rebel in Modern Times

Program notes:

Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges sits down with Ben Makuch at the Toronto VICE office to discuss what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Hedges discusses his new book Wages of Rebellion, an investigation of the social and psychological factors that cause revolution, rebellion and resistance. From Wall Street corruption to why the elites in corporate media have eviscerated traditional investigative journalism, Hedges tries to make sense of the world we live in.

And if you’re wondering about that unemployment figure and why it’s so much higher than the official number, its because the long-term unemployed who have simply given up have been factored out of the data, a decision reached in 1994 under Bill Clinton.

From Shadow Government Statistics, here’s what the real jobless rate would be without the political tweaking:


Blood on the newsroom floor, and literally, too

While usually we reserve our “Blood on the newsroom floor” category for stories about job losses, sometimes it’s important to note that, all too often, the phrase has a literal meaning as well.

All too often with those other politically proclaimed “Days,” we suspected the reason for declaring an International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists is to ease the conscience sufficiently to ensure convenient lassitude until a year goes by and another Day is proclaimed.

We begin with Telesur English:

Approximately one journalist is killed each week in the line of duty, according to figures by the United Nations, which were released as the world marks the second International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists this Monday, which this year is centered on highlighting the growing atrocities and threats to freedom of speech, information dissemination and democracy around the globe.

“More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade – one every five days – simply for bringing news and information to the public. Many perish in the conflicts they cover so fearlessly. But all too many have been deliberately silenced for trying to report the truth,” said Mr. Ban in a message on the second World Day.

According to the U.N., 21 percent of these cases occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean. The area has seen 123 deaths between 2006 and 2013 – only 10.5 percent of which have been resolved. This makes it the region with the third highest reported cases of murder, after the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

More from the U.N. News Center:

Noting that only 7 per cent of cases involving crimes against journalists are resolved and less that one crime out of 10 is ever fully investigated, he stressed that such impunity deepens fear among journalists and enables Governments to get away with censorship.

“We must do more to combat this trend and make sure that journalists can report freely. Journalists should not have to engage in self-censorship because they fear for their life,” said the UN chief.

Mr. Ban urged collective action to end the cycle of impunity and safeguard the right of journalists to speak truth to power.

Echoing the sentiment, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that she has consistently and publicly condemned each killing of a journalist and called for a thorough investigation.

“In the past six years, I have publicly and unequivocally condemned more than 540 cases of killings of journalists, media workers and social media producers who generate significant amounts of journalism,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement.

There’s another threat to journalists, too — one that kills their jobs but doesn’t take their lives. And that’s the plunging circulation of American newspapers as former readers drop subscriptions and seek their news online.

And more California journalism jobs will soon vanish, if past bankruptcies are any measure.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Burdened by debt after a failed expansion, the owner of the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy and its chief executive promised to mount a bid to acquire the troubled newspaper company.

Freedom Communications, which also owns the Riverside Press-Enterprise, made national headlines for a high-stakes bet on print journalism but was forced to make a hasty retreat last year, closing two new dailies and undergoing rounds of layoffs. The latest hit came Sunday as Freedom filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Central District of California.

Struggling after more than $40 million in losses over the last two years, Freedom said Richard Mirman, its chief executive and Register publisher, is now leading a local effort to reorganize the company and buy it through a court-approved auction.

The two failed dailies, the Los Angeles Register and the Long Beach Register, were challenges to the Tribune Company, publishers of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Digital First, publisher of the Long Beach Press Telegram and the owner of most of the rest of the daily newspapers in the Golden State.

We’ll reserve the last word for Mr. Fish:


Headline of the day III: All the news that fits

From The Intercept:

Television News Network Lobbyists Are Fundraising for Hillary Clinton