Thursday, February 5, 2009

Publisher: Layoffs coming to Lexington

Here is the email from Lexington Herald-Leader publisher Tim Kelly:

To: All Employees

From: Tim Kelly

Subject: McClatchy Announcement

Date: Feb. 5, 2009

This morning, McClatchy announced that it is freezing its pension plans and temporarily suspending the company match to its 401(k) plans, effective March 31. McClatchy also announced that it will reduce costs by an additional $100 million to $110 million, or approximately seven percent of 2008 cash expenses, over the next 12 months. The press release is available at www.mcclatchy.com <" target="_blank">http://www.mcclatchy.com/>; . McClatchy will send more detail on the retirement changes to you directly, both by e-mail and information mailed to your home.

Here at the Herald-Leader, we are still developing our plan to address these expense cuts. Unfortunately, these cuts will include position eliminations. However, we also are exploring numerous other alternatives to limit the number of layoffs. We will share these details with you just as soon as they are final.

We understand how disruptive it is to receive these announcements without more specific information. We also understand that todayʼs announcement is especially discouraging given all the cuts made in 2008. We had hoped that previous cuts would be sufficient to see us through the sharp revenue declines affecting our industry. Instead, we must continue to respond to the unprecedented and deepening financial crisis that is threatening not only our industry, but all kinds of businesses in almost every sector of the economy.

In Lexington, we have seen an unprecedented decline in advertising revenue with a number of retailers and auto dealers going out of business and others substantially reducing spending. In addition, employment advertising continues to drop to all-time lows and real estate remains weak. Those challenges are clearly driven by a deepening recession that is hurting our local economy.

The decisions we now need to make are difficult, but we will act quickly, deliberately and with an eye toward the future. We are positioning this newspaper to compete and succeed in a demanding, competitive, more integrated media environment. We will remain the communityʼs most comprehensive source of news and advertising.

As in the past, we will work quickly to notify employees who may be affected by staff reductions. As we have just begun work on these plans, you may not hear more from us for at least a few weeks. Employees whose positions are eliminated will be provided with a transition package that will include severance pay and benefits continuation. We also will provide outplacement services and do everything possible to make their transition as smooth as possible.

Thereʼs no way the Herald-Leader would be able to manage through todayʼs difficult environment without the talent, innovation and dedication of our staff. I know weʼve asked a lot of you in the past and we are asking more from you today. I hope we can continue to count on you. Thank you for all you do.


T.M.K.
Via email
.
From comments: letter from Mark Zieman at the KC Star -- it's the same form letter sent to all papers! Jeez.
.
.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks!!! Seems like they all say the same thing just change the name of the paper.

Anonymous said...

I agree all looks the same only with different papers name

Anonymous said...

These are form letter announcements - just fill in the specific newspaper. How warm and fuzzy!

Anonymous said...

You know, I have never understood if these people are just stupid or like rubbing salt into the wounds. Transition Package? Who ever came up with that, seriously needs their ass beat.

Anonymous said...

At least this publisher is talking to his staff. This is better than rumor and treats workers as adults.

Anonymous said...

Transition Package????? What?

Anonymous said...

This mess didn’t happen just yesterday, why don’t they have a plan they can discuss? That is scary as hell! They are hiding something, I don’t know what it is, or why, but I don’t think the ‘warm and fuzzy’ is cutting it with everyone!

Anonymous said...

Talk about fill-in-the-blank journalism? This little talk with the staff message, must be a newspaper template you can purchase online.

Anonymous said...

These little chats with employees are a stall. I don’t think they are putting the finishing touches on any kind of grand scheme. This is a done deal. They are taking the dribble & drab route. Who can say? Maybe it is the most humane way to end a relationship?

Anonymous said...

KC Star's Form Memo. Unfortunately Zieman doesn't say if he found Rhonda yet:

Feb. 5, 2009

To all employees:

This morning, McClatchy announced that it is freezing its pension plans and temporarily suspending the company match to its 401(k) plans, effective March 31. McClatchy also announced that it will cut an additional $100 million to $110 million in expenses over the next 12 months. The press release is available at www.mcclatchy.com. McClatchy will send more details on the retirement changes to each of us directly, both by e-mail and information mailed to our homes.

At The Star, we are still developing our plan to address these expense cuts. Unfortunately, we know these cuts will include job eliminations. But we also are exploring several other alternatives to limit the number of layoffs. We will share these details with you just as soon as they are final.

I understand how disruptive it is to receive these announcements without more specific information. I also understand that today’s announcement is especially discouraging given all the cuts made in 2008.

We had hoped that previous cuts would be sufficient to see us through the sharp revenue declines affecting our newspaper and our industry. Instead, we have seen the Kansas City economy continue to worsen, with many of our major employers and retailers slashing jobs, suspending their marketing efforts or even going out of business. Help wanted ads have dropped to record lows, and sales of homes and autos remain weak. Our new ventures have helped us tremendously, especially our fast-growing online and niche products. But our core newspaper continues to suffer from a deepening downturn that has touched almost every sector of our economy.

The decisions we now need to make are difficult, but are necessary to keep this paper financially stable and positioned for the future. The efforts we have taken in the past year, and will continue to take, have helped us succeed in a demanding, competitive and more integrated media environment. The Star remains our community’s most dominant and comprehensive source of news and advertising, and our readership reach in print and online remains unrivaled.

As in the past, we will work quickly to notify employees who may be affected by staff reductions. As we have just begun work on these plans now, you may not hear more from us for a few weeks. Employees whose positions are eliminated will be provided with a transition package that will include severance pay and benefits continuation. We also will provide outplacement services and do everything possible to make their transition as smooth as possible.

The Star continues to succeed in today’s difficult environment because of the talent, innovation and dedication of our staff. You have responded to this unprecedented time in exceptional ways. I deeply appreciate all that you do, and I am certain that future generations of readers and advertisers will appreciate it, too.

Regards,

Mark Zieman
President and publisher

Anonymous said...

"I deeply appreciate all that you do, and I am certain that future generations of readers and advertisers will appreciate it, too."


Right...I really b/v that since this is a form letter that every paper sent out. CLASSY!

Anonymous said...

Right...I really b/v that since this is a form letter that every paper sent out. CLASSY!
--------------

That is AP/Press Release Journalism. They send out the story or memo and everyone adds a line, or omits one. Change a comma or two and put your name on it. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Pardon me now, I have a Media Matters URGENT in the pipeline.

Anonymous said...

same letter in columbia, sheesh!

John Altevogt said...

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/McClatchy-Reports-Fourth-prnews-14262468.html

I wonder if things will get so bad that they lay off some of the managers the next time instead of all the workers in the trenches.

They talk about efficiency, but wouldn't it be more efficient to take several bands of the workers and combine them under one manager, riding themselves of a few highly paid managers in the process as opposed to firing all of the workers who provide the product?

The Star has always had very good reporters who were sandbagged by a very corrupt management team. Give us our reporters back and take the losers at the top on a long walk off a very short pier.

Anonymous said...

Regards,

Mark Zieman
President and publisher
KC Star's Form Memo.

Unfortunately Zieman doesn't say if he found Rhonda yet:
***
Now, which Mark Zieman is this, two names, two place he registers to vote, one can’t be sure with him. Where is Rhonda? She is in rehab no doubt, that way she can say she is soooo sorry, and get her driver‘s license back without penalty. Wait and see, they both are skunks.

Anonymous said...

9:32 You ask "why they don't have a plan"? My friend they do, they just don't want you to know about it. First, the layoffs maybe even this Friday but probably Feb 16th. Second, Wage cuts. They will then tell you how lucky you are you still have a job. Third, Benefits like vacation, reduce it.

So my friend they had a plan all along you just don't know it yet. Good Luck.