Thursday, September 18, 2008


A high-level executive involved in the layoffs planning has been quoted as saying Corporate's directives are "daunting."

Therefore it may be a prudent time to review the "Employment Issues" section of this blog's left-hand menu. We have links to financial, labor and health insurance Web sites.

Treat those as informational. The best advice comes from a professional.


Anonymous said...

Managers are being asked to do something they have never really had to do before: cut good performing staffers in needed jobs. Four years ago, they had a lot more people to choose from, many of whom were doing jobs that were fairly easy to erase. Not hard to cut the technology writer when you are eliminating the section. Same goes for the pet columnist. Or people who had spent time on a P.I.P. (that's Personal Improvement Plan for those who don't know). Of course, the brain trust managed to screw up that relatively easy process, make it a hellish experience and spawn a federal employment lawsuit that the company could well have to pay big bucks to settle.

We are well past the trim-the-fat stage. We are faced with not having enough staff to carry out the basic functions of a good newspaper. Look at the coverage of some of the major news stories of the past few weeks. Think it might have been a shade or two better four years ago? Think the buyout/layoff is already taking its toll? Wait 'til Oct. 17. Managers are already tearing at one another's flesh over who gets to feel the most pain. Not to make excuses for them, but what possible "metrix" can they come up with that makes it easy to walk good people out the door.

Death said...

These cuts are going to slice us to the bone; the sad reality is our managers and readers need to get used to the fact that we won't be as able to produce the newspaper day in and day out that they expect.

We'll still have our moments, but expect to hear "no" a lot more often around our newsroom. We don't have a reporter to cover that. This reporter is knee-deep in three stories. That copy editor is reading 25 stories. That manager is Monday Morning Quarterbacking at least twice as hard as he/she used to. You get the idea.

The stress is already beginning to show in many departments as we start to worry about ourselves and our colleagues. As we approach the date, you can feel a malaise starting to take over.

In one department, there is an odd situation happening: Some managers are coming in on their days off when they are not needed; almost just to make a point of being seen going above-and-beyond. Then they sit around with nothing to do. This level of desperate action will surely increase as we get closer.

As Anon pointed out above, the basic functions of what make for a good metro newspaper are now being threatened.

Death said...

And I toss an idea out that I left in a lower comment field: Is there a movement afoot to collect money for those who are let go? If not, are the readers of this blog interested in getting one going?

Anonymous said...

It is worse than you imagine.

Those who still subscribe to the print edition are already realizing they will be getting a crippled remnant, if not a Green Sheet, at increasingly NYT subscription rates. Subscription to the newspaper has changed from being a rational purchase to becoming a questionable private charity.

It is over. Those of you still there would be wisest to make good use of the increased time to search while you still draw a paycheck. What will be left will only be that advertiser supported internet entertainment which draws the most clicks, content that's either the flavor of the moment or any sort of hair pulling slapfest contention. And that is only until those advertisers realize everyone is using ad blockers not to see them and pull their wasted dollars as well.

Sad to say, your sun will not that slowly burn out to become before it goes dark entirely. Better to leave while you still have options.

Anonymous said...

So will managers get laid off, too? And, you know, shouldn't they? Unless things have changed, DMN is a remarkably manager-heavy newsroom.

And is DMN falling victim to this weird news industry trend that the copy desk is superfluous? In other places, there's this effort to push raw copy out on the website and to hell with minutiae like grammar. Or fact-checking.

I'm a long-ago DMN alum with Texas connections, so I still care about the place. Sad to see all this happen.

Anonymous said...

Right, I'm curious if editors are high on the chop-block list. Line editors? Mid-managers? I guess it'd simply be speculation at this point.

Anonymous said...

It's a safe bet that line editors are vulnerable in departments like Local News. The charts shown to the staff on the last day of the buyout showed 10 editor positions that were going to disappear. Of course those charts can and will change. But there are a lot of nervous editors. One editor abandoned his office to sit closer to his boss.

Managers will feel the pain. But poop still rolls downhill. Even if reporters and copy editors aren't cut, they are going to have more work piled on them. Despite management's pledge two years ago that they would not ask us to do more with less, that's precisely what's happened. People are worn out. Even if people aren't laid off, they are going to leave. Management is probably counting on that so they dont have to go through layoffs again in six months.

Anonymous said...

How can a manager get cut if they are in the meetings to cut someone else? That's bad karma.

Are DMN Stars protected from the layoffs? What about those who can remember the five goals? Or those carrying more buckets? Cue circus music.