Sunday, February 8, 2009

Flashback: last October, genius McClatchy editor said "I think we're done with layoffs"

Just where does Gary Pruitt find the geniuses who run his newspapers? As recently as four months ago, Miami Herald executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal was publicly saying he didn't think there would be any more layoffs at the Miami Herald:
Last week, Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal likened what's happening in the newspaper industry to being hit by a hurricane. But he told me he doesn't believe there will be any more job losses at his newspaper.

"I just don't see that happening," said Gyllenhaal, who was a reporter for the newspaper back in its early '80s heyday. "It's been a difficult period, but everybody in the newsroom knows what we need to do. Whether it's a literal hurricane or a figurative one, which is what we're going through in a way, this is a newsroom that is taking it on and handling it."
That was then. Fast forward four months. On Thursday McClatchy announced it would cut $100 to $110 million company wide. Miami Herald Publisher David Landsberg sent an email to staff Thursday telling them the Herald would be laying off employees in the coming weeks. (Bob Norman has the email from Lansberg here.)

Here's what an astute commenter said about Gyllenhaal on my blog in November:
He's going to eat that no more layoffs prediction. October ad revenues were truly dismal, continuing the abrupt slide that started in September, and Christmas is looking very, very bad for newspapers. So where is the revenue going to come from to make the payroll. The Miami Herald is in really deep trouble, and looking more like the old Miami News in its dying days.
No word from the Anders Gyllenhaal. Photo: Tom Wallace/Star Tribune
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21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Had McClatchy never purchased Knight-Ridder they would be far better off then they are today. The way that Knight-Ridder set their company up to run was the reason that it was sold in the first place! Tony got more money then his defunct company was worth and then rode off in the sunset. There is no denying that Pruitt made a terrible decision in buying Knight-Ridder but the fact is that KR was destined to be decimated regardless of who bought it. Papers like Miami that are “top heavy” with so called brilliant minds should have been spun off immediately like San Jose was. Even KR infrastructure is a money pit with pieces like “shared services” showing no worth and draining the company of money in the form of compensation while they cost the company more because non-newspaper people are now deciding who we should buy from. We could save “MANY” newspaper jobs if we shuttered shared services and let them go back to selling used cars or getting mortgages for people that cannot afford them.

Anonymous said...

A friend sent this photo, and asked, “Is this a pic of Pru looking at Obummer in awe?”

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0enCeNtaSl3UD/610x.jpg

Is it?

Anonymous said...

Actually Knight Ridder would have been better off too. Knight Ridder stock was $75.00 share because of the way it was run. The sale of the newspaper was forced. Knight Ridder showed big profits every year. Knight Ridder was not greedy. Knight ridder got dragged into Pruitts mess. Now they are paying for his GREED...

Our company is failing, we have to lay off hundreds maybe thousands of people, Can I get my $5,000,000 Bonus Check now :0

Anonymous said...

If that was true 11:26 then why were they forced to sell the company? Not because they were making "record profits" as you state. It's cause they were not making those profits and had McClatchy not stepped in they would have been sold in pieces, and some of those pieces would have been assets only in which all the employees would have lost their jobs.

Anonymous said...

They were sold because the stock holders knew that there was only one way for the stock to go. The stock holders forced the sale while the paper was booming. Every one knew that some day it would change and they didnt want to be around for it when it started to drop..

Anonymous said...

Okay, so the stock holders got theirs. With that point I agree. Seems like this is the real truth here!

Anonymous said...

It seems like the MNI BOD still praise Pruitt. How can that be? What will it take for them to fire him?

Anonymous said...

At this point 12:14 there is no telling. I would have thought that 2007 would have been his last year! I guess the reality is there is no one that would be willing to step in and take the helm now.

Anonymous said...

What a laugh riot.

Anonymous said...

They were sold because the stock holders knew that there was only one way for the stock to go. The stock holders forced the sale while the paper was booming.
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Thank you for setting the record straight. The fact of the matter is the only people that wanted to hold onto the company were the top management, but, fortunately for them and unlike McClatchy, the shareholders actually had a voice.

As for McClatchy being better off without the Knight Ridder deal. That depends on your definition of better off. The fact of the matter is, if not for that deal they would already have been in bankruptcy some time ago. Pruitt et al have already explained this little ugly truth. The only thing that has kept them out is their huge debt and creditors with pipe dreams of ever recovering their losses.

Anonymous said...

It seems like the MNI BOD still praise Pruitt. How can that be? What will it take for them to fire him?
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The MNI BOD has no power to fire him. None, nada. The BOD in fact has no power to do anything aside from rubber stamping whatever decisions the family makes as they control all votes with their super shares. This company is run much the same as the NY Times, and Cox where all votes are controlled by the family.

Anonymous said...

I would disagree with 12:21. The worst paper in the McClatchy chain was the Star Tribune and selling off that rock would have shown the company to have very little debt and certainly in a better position then now considering that the papers are still making money.

Anonymous said...

You clearly do not know enough about the series of transactions to mount a disagreement.

They did sell the Star Tribune and retained 50% of what they paid for it, leaving them exactly where they are right now. Your argument makes no sense what so ever, and your contention that the company is making money is pure idiocy.

Stop listening to what these clowns are telling you and do the math yourself. McClatchy is bleeding, with almost every thing they bring in going to pay the interest on their loans. An extra 400 million that they lost on the Tribune deal would have had no effect on their rate of bleed.

Anonymous said...

The reason KR was sold was because of one manager of a Hedge fund in Florida. It was McClatchy's bone headed decision to buy a company that was TOO big. Here is the solution for MCClatchy to be in the black now. Close or sell ALL California & Miami papers.

Dave D. said...

...If K-R stockholders forced the sale of the company as reported, then good on them : They owned it, not management, not the employee's. The McClatchy family didn't have the sense to sell the company OR to change the management. BAD ON THEM, and all the morons who bought stock without control.
..It would appear that the McClatchy's think they can ride this out, cut back and survive until folks start buying newspapers again. What a pipe dream. It's terminal. Fini. Kaput. There will be no newspaper revival and internet readers won't pay for content. What's not free will fail. Folks won't pay for the crap McClatchy puts out. All changed, changed utterly : A terrible beauty is born.

Anonymous said...

“Close or sell ALL California …… papers.”

Some people say the SacBee is like a sacred cow, and employees don’t know the half of the favoritism shown this KNOWN failure. I don’t suppose there is anyway to know these things for sure.

Anonymous said...

There was a comment here once that said the McClatchy BOD is completely inbred, I guess meaning all family members. Is that the way with a lot of boards?

Anonymous said...

The NYT posts a BIG story about how bad things are in Fort Myers, FL, and then Obama goes there for a photo op for his stimulus bill. More insincere marketing, and smoke and mirrors for the little folks. The word charlatan comes to my mind, not savior.

Anonymous said...

And the good news is:

Although the decline of the traditional newspaper business and business model is lamentable, there is always and upside and this is it. Fewer trees will be sacrificed to print newspapers that fewer and fewer people are reading.

That's newspapers 0, Earth 1.

http://eyeonthesentinel.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

What a collection of nitwits.

Anonymous said...

Information awareness from the Tribune employees:

Comment from Tribune employee:
Anonymous said...
Interesting that our once 'over funded' pension plan is now in danger of being under funded. Between the downturn in investments and Tribune's [decision to raid the pension fund for severance payments] and funding the new ESOP the pensions of all long time Tribune employees is in jeopardy.

Anonymous said...
And don't count on cashing out your pension plan in a lump-sum payment. Tribune just sent out a notice stating that for the time being, "The plan is prevented from offering eligible participants the option of receiving a lump sum ...".