March 20, 2009

Watching Newhouse spiral painful

A memo left in a shared conference room led to Editor and Publisher reports that the 'Star-Ledger' Appears to be Planning Unpaid Furloughs. The article, posted Friday afternoon, also mentions pension freezes, similar to that outlined to the magazine arm of the company that owns Star-Ledger, The Flint Journal, and seven other Michigan newspapers.

The story helps to make those waiting in Flint, Saginaw and Bay City for details on the reduced production days for the three newspapers more nervous.

The Paper Tiger
blog says Ann Arbor News staff were told important meeting on Monday and Flint Journal staff also says announcement coming Monday
. Will it be about the combination of newspapers or a similar furlough, pension announcement?

An anonymous comment on Paper Tiger No More says it well:
The death of the Booth papers is excruciating to watch.
Meanwhile, Randy Siegel, president of Parade Publications, another product linked by ownership to the newspapers above, gives the inside scoop "behind the newspaper naysayers." The co-founder of the Newspaper Project explained the real story behind Jeff Jarvis, the Time magazine piece, and much more. He thinks it's time for the other side.
"As newspaper companies fight for survival and attempt to rectify many of the mistakes they have made in the last decade, they don’t deserve a break from anyone—their readers, their advertisers, or their competitors. What they do deserve, however, is a little more objective coverage of their problems and more detailed disclosure about the possible motives of those “critics” and “analysts” who are hardly unbiased observers."
I agree with that. But I also agree with those who suggest management could do worse then letting the employees and retirees of their companies get a chance to suggest improvements (An idea from inside Booth).

Or at least stop leaving memos in rooms or public servers shared by others. Asking journalists to cover their eyes when looking at information affecting their livelihoods is an exercise in futility.

Related posts: Newhouse letter creates 'pension tension' for magazines


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