Thursday, September 25, 2008


A few items to pass along while we all watch and wait:

1.) City of Arlington police department has a media relations job open. The job description is not yet online. Check our jobs page for that and other openings.

2.) Multiple sources report three non-union Providence managers, two regional bureau editors and a chief librarian, were laid off today. That brings the total editorial losses there to 45 from a total of 250. The alternative news weekly in Providence provides some coverage.

3.) It is worth reiterating that Friday, Oct. 17, should now be treated as a final deadline for the Dallas Morning News layoffs. The Providence cuts show these decisions are evolving. The layoff announcement could be sooner than previously explained. Therefore heed the advice of blog commenters and make preparations. Copy your files and Rolodexes. Consult experts on insurance options and financial planning. Refer also to the links under "Employment issues" on this blog's menu.

4.) Corporate decided today to hold onto more of its money and reduce the amount of dividend it pays to shareholders. CEO Robert Decherd said that "it is important to recognize the impact of current industry and market conditions, and retain as much financial flexibility as possible as the company works through the remainder of 2008 and 2009."


Anonymous said...

Just wondering about the topic of leadership. It's a tough job to run a newspaper under good circumstances, and these days the circumstances sure aren't good. We are told that our newsroom leaders fight for us, and maybe they do. Maybe things would be far worse without their efforts. Can't help but wonder where they might draw the line insofar as staff cuts are concerned. How much before we can't operate a newspaper above the quality of the Plano Star Courier? What does it take before our managers tell their bosses they can go no further? We all know this slashing by corporate is not going to stop. Isn't this what leadership is supposed to be about? Standing up for what's right? Manaqers have much to lose. Dont we all? But with great power comes great responsibility, or so the saying goes. Who is the John Carroll or Dean Baquet in our management? Where is the sense of responsibility? Guess there is always someone willing to do the bidding of bosses, no matter how wrongheaded they are. said...

You present an interesting thesis.

But the inconvenient truth is that Mr. Carroll's and Mr. Baquet's stands did little more than provide staff temporary morale boosts. Mr. Carroll ultimately stepped down. Mr. Baquet was forced out. When the new publisher resisted, he was fired in no time.

Therefore, if we are candid with ourselves, we must accept that the real question before us is not whether a newspaper editor can stop his or her corporation from executing cuts, but whether he or she can minimize the number and frequency until someone, anyone, discovers a remedy for the industry's financial ills.

In defense of our newsroom leadership, this is the likely answer they would give us if asked to explain what they are doing for us: That they are doing what they can to save what they can in the time allowed.

Anonymous said...

Not to seem argumentative, but...
These are the same newsroom leaders who told us two years ago that those of us who weren't up for "dynamic change" were welcome to leave with no hard feelings. These are the same newsroom leaders who ignored the recommendations of their own "Yates Commission" two years ago and approved a newsroom reorganization that has been a miserable failure by any objective measure. These are the same newsroom leaders who never do a thing to make worker bees feel like they are with us. When was the last time any one of the management group attempted to have a real conversation with the troops that wasn't staged, ordered or monitored? You barely see them in the newsroom, and almost never after 6 p.m. You'll excuse the cynicism, but it's a little hard to accept any notion that these guys are standing tall when that has not been their style. Imagine how much might have been accomplished had we had some real leadership who could go toe-to-toe with corporate. You can't effectively negotiate from a position of weakness.

And, yes, Carroll and Baquet and virtually any other manager who has dared to say no to corporate-ordered cuts has been shown the door of their organization. That doesn't make them wrong. What's the cost of acceding to decisions you know to be wrong? Or is that just pragmatism?

Anonymous said...

How can we have any confidence that the managers who have been in charge over the last four years or longer will be able to better manage the newsroom in the face of shrinking resources and a smaller staff?
If this were a well-managed business, responsibility would be taken and changes made. And not just at the worker level. said...

We understand the perspective. Our two points were as devil's advocate.