January 8, 2010

Advance Publications reorganizing in Michigan - layoffs announced

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with background;)
First, I saw a Tweet reminding me that Paper Cuts has launched its 2010 map showing where newspapers are cutting staff. At 3 p.m., the count was at 431 jobs, but that doesn't include cuts announced at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Grand Rapids Press and Muskegon Chronicle today.

A story just posted on mlive.com outlines staffing and production changes. Those changes include:
  • Printing the Kalamazoo Gazette at the plant now shared by the Grand Rapids Press and Muskegon Chronicle.
  • Moving advertising production for all three news organizations to a the print and digital production center used by another sister publication. (I'm not sure if this is the one setup for AnnArbor.com  or the "Great Lakes group of Flint, Saginaw and Bay City.)
  • Moving all circulation outbound calling and retention efforts for the three newspapers to Kalamazoo.

A Muskegon Chronicle article saiid:
"The Booth organization said the employment changes include a reduction of all printing and production positions and a number of positions in other departments in Kalamazoo. The majority of the positions eliminated in Grand Rapids are in ad production. A small number of newsroom and advertising staff in each market are also affected."
Similar articles were published by The Grand Rapids Press and Kalamazoo Gazette with quotes by the newspapers' chief executives.
“Our commitment to the Kalamazoo community remains strong in many ways, as evidenced by the three region-wide Booth operations centers established in Kalamazoo in less than 12 months," (Gazette Publisher James) Stephanak said. "These investments include the circulation retention call center, as well as West Michigan’s overall marketing headquarters and the regional center for advertising content.”"

The layoffs were expected since the business announced it was withdrawing its "lifetime job pledge"  on Aug. 5. (Also discussed in this reaction post.) Until this year, the Michigan daily newspaper in the Newhouse group pledge that a bad economy or technology would not affect employment of the full-time employees.That change was to become effective Feb. 5.)

The printing change was suggested in a March 2009 Gazette article announcing the closing of the Ann Arbor News, reduced production schedule for The Bay City Times, Saginaw News and Flint Journal and pension and salary changes for most Booth Newspaper employees.
Inn addition, Stephanak said he is currently working on the possibility of consolidating the Gazette's printing and packaging operations with Grand Rapids in conjunction with exploring major changes in the distribution system.""
That same article said that "The Kalamazoo Gazette  The Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot and Muskegon Chronicle, had centralized accounting, technical services, some customer call center functions, advertising production and page editing functions."

It also included this:
"This summer, an editorial production center will be established in Grand Rapids to serve Kalamazoo as well as other newsrooms in West Michigan. This center will serve the page editing and production needs for all news products, page layout and design."

1 comment:

  1. From WWMT:
    Gazette worker Greg Dykstra. "There's 70 of us in my department alone, we were together everyday. We worked hard to get the paper out."

    Video report also says jobs being cut in advertising and newsroom.