Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Modesto Bee publisher announces 40 positons will be eliminated

Modesto Bee publisher Eric Johnston emailed Modesto Bee employees Wednesday morning, informing them 40 positions would be cut. Here is the email:
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good morning everyone,

Earlier this week I sent an announcement regarding expense reduction plans at the corporate level, plans that are necessary to manage through this very challenging financial climate. Today I want to share with you what those plans mean for The Modesto Bee.

Today we are activating our plans to reduce our workforce by 40 positions; these reductions will occur across all of our divisions. Employees affected are being notified today and provided with information about severance and transition packages. Everyone who is being impacted has been an appreciated and valued member of our team, and we will do everything we can to make their transition as smooth as possible.

Additionally, we are implementing across-the-board wage reductions for all employees whose compensation exceeds $25,000 annually. Later today every employee ? and this includes all managers, senior executives and myself ? will receive a letter detailing the impact of the wage reduction on your pay. Management incentive programs have also been eliminated for 2009.

Wage reductions will take effect on April 13, and you will first notice it in your paycheck issued on May 1.

Many have asked about work furloughs, and whether they will be required this year. We are not planning furloughs for the first half of this year, but may revisit that option later if financial conditions do not improve. It is important that you know this is a possibility, and that you will be given plenty of notice if and when a decision has been made.

I want to sincerely apologize for all of the disruption and uncertainty you have encountered over the last few weeks. This is a very difficult time for all of us, and it will continue to be challenging as we adapt into a 21st century media company. As difficult as it may be, I would respectfully ask that you do your best to keep focused, work hard and do everything possible to help our newspaper succeed.

I would encourage you to contact human resources if you have any questions, especially any regarding our severance program, wage reductions or employee counseling services.

Thank you,


Eric Johnston
Publisher & President

Thanks to the reader who sent this in.

To see the latest info on McClatchy layoffs, click here.


Anonymous said...

The sad thing is there is less then 200 employees left. Im guessing any where from 165 to 190 employees. take 40 jobs away your looking at 125-150 WOW what is left to be done. I guess go all digital.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, there is lots of meat left on the bone. They haven't even touched the people that helped to cause the problems in the first place, with the BIG savings. Wait till bankruptcy for the meaningful cuts.

Anonymous said...

They may have well said that the were activating some kind of self-destruct mechanism.

Sally O'Malley said...

..."adapt into a 21st century media company"... What a Joke! That is laughable!

Seriously, aren't you publishers embarrassed to be putting your names on these emails? Obviously, corporate is shoving these down your throats but I have to wonder if you kinda throw up a little...just in your mouth, before you hit send.

Tip to publishers, just send out the facts in your emails and omit the politically correct fluff and bs. Your staff will be less offended.

Anonymous said...

Well, the deed is indeed done. Lsst day for laid off folks is March 20th.

The people not laid off seem more shell-shocked than those who were. And from what I've heard, most of them don't want to be there, trying to work without even LESS support staff than before.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, you can bet the same crap will occur on/around the time of future earrings calls. So mark your calendars and save your sick days cuz you'll need them for the bleeding ulcer you'll have by then, if not already.

Anonymous said...

I'm not able to confirm, but I have heard that the Wichita Eagle is eliminating three or four positions and reducing three or four others to part-time, with no or reduced benefits. A couple of the people affected may have been getting close to retirement -- or would have been close if economic times were better.

The Eagle seems to be suffering a bit less this time around (at least so far) than many of its siblings. Perhaps it did a better job last year of making deep cuts and freezing wages.

The Eagle may have a somewhat better command of its market as well. The Sunday paper is usually stuffed with quite a few circulars, and there isn't much competition otherwise.

A nice local online and print publication, Wichita Magazine, announced a few days ago that the April issue would be its last. I'm not sure if the Eagle would benefit from this, but I suppose it's possible.

Early this year, the Eagle also was given the contract to publish legal notices for Sedgwick County, a switcheroo that left the Derby Reporter to twist in the wind. (The Reporter ended up closing its doors in February.)

I doubt that the $108,000 contract will make or break the Eagle, but I'm guessing no one is sneering at it.

Anonymous said...

Re: 4:33pm
I know other papers are suffering similar fates but what on earth does the Wichita paper have to do with the layoffs today at the Modesto Bee?

Anonymous said...

With the increased readership, this blog has acquired too many self-appointed police. My bookmark is going to the trashcan, and good luck to all of you.

Anonymous said...

With the increased readership, this blog has acquired too many self-appointed police.

Eh, just tell em to blow it out his ass. The good thing about self appointed police is that they can dictate, but not enforce.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah people are losing thier jobs and that sucks, I would give anyone a chance one time but most people get in thier own way. Of those 40 people, my guess is maybe 2 would be smart enough to be coachable. I am sooooo glad I was. I have dug my wellwith counsel from other diggers. And I had to work my tail off for, OMG, two whole years. Now I am never thirsty, it's like having a money tree in the back yard. People laughed, said "it would never work","it's a pyramid" (like they had even a single clue), "I would'nt use my friends like that". To those people I say - it worked, and your job was a pyramid and my friends are all rich now thank you. Get off your pay check sucking butts and build yourself an empire online. Quit whineing about the economy and use it to win the game. Anyone with a dream big enough can do it.