Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poll results

Again voters delivered overwhelming results in the latest poll. Nearly 90 percent of the 80 respondents felt emphatic that Corporate would end up cutting more jobs at the Dallas Morning News than the previous target of roughly 40 positions.

Here were the final results:

Yes. Are you kidding? "Over 350 people" has wiggle room: 69 votes (86%)
Possibly. But only a few. We understand things change: 8 votes (10%)
No. Moroney us promised a newsroom of "over 350 people": 3 votes (3%)

For past poll results, go here and here.


Anonymous said...

A totally uneducated guess: 20-25 newsroom people will be laid off.(That's about half the total Jim Moroney gave for the 4 targeted departments.) Most of those cut will come from the line or copy editing ranks in Local News and the lifestyle sections. Perhaps a couple of department heads will be included. None will deserve the treatment they receive.

All bets are off if AHB's third quarter numbers (July 1-Sept. 30)are as bad or worse than the two previous quarters have been.

Anonymous said...

It's one of those situations where, if you're already doing something really painful, you may as well do as much as you can in one swoop. Rather than pruning a little now, a little more in a few months and then some in a year, if I were doing it, I'd hack off the whole limb and be done with it. So that's my guess -- big cuts now instead of little continuing ones.

Death said...

We must do whatever we can to maintain the ranks of management. These are sacred positions that can never be cut because they provide the greatest hope for our newsroom to regain its luster and for Belo to maximize long-term profitability.

We must have individuals whose single existence relies on Monday-Morning Quarterbacking and reactive, rather than proactive, thought processes.

Then while this happening, we should have buyouts and layoffs, and take more feet off the street and further gash our publication. This, too, could be Monday-Morning Quarterbacked after the fact, with a simple shrug of the shoulders, saying one had done "all they could" to "fight for their people."

This is the sign of true leadership. Whereas some would consider taking the buyout in order to add another hefty salary to the bottom line, you do not. Today, we salute you, Mr./Ms. AME/DME.

So crack open an ice cold Bud Light, oh Sultans of the Spreadsheets. 'Cause we all know, when the going gets tough, your daily lack of stewardship and preparedness helps to ensure that the tough get laid off.

Anonymous said...

Death, perhaps unwittingly, raises the question of who rates the raters? Will those managers charged with evaluating who should be laid off be subject to the same kind of scrutiny from their bosses? And who rates the top newsroom bosses? Will there be any evaluation of managers at all? Some should be glad their staff doesn't have a vote.

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way, Human Resources has given newsroom managers a date for the layoff. It's sometime in mid-October. I'm guessing a Friday because that gives the staff the weekend to vent its fury.

Death said...

That's an excellent point. Everyone has to answer to someone, so where is that line in the sand drawn as we move up the chain?

All indications seem to point to lower-level editors bearing the brunt as far as managers go. Maybe one demotion (which doesn't count since we're actually talking FTE elimination) higher up the chain.

It's the sort of thing no one realizes in upper management or even at the corporate level: If none of the higher players in the structure take a hit like the rest of us worker bees, it makes it that much harder to follow their doctrine as a matter of principle. Forget trust. That disappears immediately.

We don't want anyone to get shown the door. But since management has said we are in such a dire financial state and our salary structure must be eliminated rapidly, what better place than to start at the top? Really?

At other newspapers, any manager below the Editor/Managing Editor level is fair game. Our cutting policy seems to start far below that.

Against this backdrop, managers should realize that morale is tanking more each day as we approach October. This should be a major factor in determining how valuable it is to maintain managers who have tertiary roles in our organization but occupy high-salary slots.

Any other organization would immediately see the fallacy in retaining such individuals in the economic climate corporate espouses. While some managers actually contribute to the daily product, most do not in a direct fashion.

Sadly, we are a newspaper, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for the DMN to have 100 FTEs one day and have about 12 managers overseeing it all.

Anonymous said...

I wonder ... any cuts coming from HR?

Anonymous said...

I don't envy the HR people their jobs. On the other hand, they are a clueless bunch when it comes to the newsroom and its culture. They seem to think we're quaint, kind of like baby monkeys from Madagascar. I wish they would have the class to disappear into their offices or wipe the ever-present smiles from their faces. It's hard not to want to take out one's frustrations on them, water carriers that they are.