Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The strangest things happen when an industry collapses

Here's a bizarre tale that gives you an idea how far the newspaper industry has fallen.

On Tuesday the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel ran a piece which was lifted entirely from The Miami Herald... the Herald piece was written by reporter Diana Moskovitz -- who was given a pink slip by the Herald two weeks ago.

So, what was the story published by both South Florida papers? Former TV psychic "Miss Cleo" has come out as a lesbian. Not exactly breaking news, since a gay magazine reported that development 3 years ago.

You can see the Miami Herald article here. Not that The Sun-Sentinel did anything unethical by re-printing -- because of limited resources both papers previously agreed to share content.

Friday I told you the Miami Herald's circulation has dropped by 50,000 in the past year. The Sun-Sentinel has been hit with its own layoffs over the past couple of years.

As the newspaper industry continues contracting, look for even more bizarre tales.

Hat tip: The Daily Pulp


Anonymous said...

Fallen what fall? I love reading and paying for DNC talking points.
I gladly pay $300, $600, $1,000 per year to read them.

AJC (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) to cut 30 percent of news staff March 25, 2009 | Staff

Newspaper to eliminate distribution to 7 outlying counties

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Wednesday it will cut its full-time news staff by about 90 people, or nearly 30 percent, to lower costs as it tries to regain profitability amid a severe revenue slump.

The company also announced it will eliminate distribution to seven more outlying counties, reducing its circulation area to 20 metro Atlanta counties, effective April 26. The cutback will pare daily and Sunday circulation by 2 percent.

The AJC’s news staff will drop to about 230 full-time positions, down from about 323 currently. Staff members with five or more years with the company will be offered voluntary buyouts, with layoffs to follow if they don’t achieve the targeted cuts, the company said.

Most of the news staff cuts “will be in production and management, allowing us to keep as many news reporters as possible,” AJC and editor Julia Wallace said.

The cuts are expected to be completed in May.

The company laid off 48 part-time news staffers Tuesday and announced the full-time cuts Wednesday morning.

The moves come amid “unprecedented pressures on advertising revenues and the struggling economy,” the company said in a press release.

“The AJC has taken an aggressive approach in changing our business model to ensure long-term viability,” Publisher Doug Franklin said in the release.

“We must reduce costs and become a smaller organization. Today’s announcements are the first in a series of initiatives we’ll announce over the next 90 days to reduce costs,” added Franklin, who was installed as the newspaper’s top executive in January.

It is the third and largest round of job cuts for the AJC news staff, which numbered about 500 in 2006. The first came in 2007 with buyouts for retirement-eligible staff members, followed by a broader buyout in mid-2008.

In a memo to the staff, Franklin said the newsroom “will undergo further restructuring as part of our strategy to provide watchdog reporting and other unique local content in the Sunday newspaper; to provide the news readers need in their daily newspaper and to make sure is the essential Web site for local news and information.”

Franklin said the AJC’s goal is to regain profitability in 2010.

“The AJC is losing money and needs to turn that around,” Wallace said in a separate memo to the news staff. “To make that happen we have to make some very difficult decisions.”

No further changes were announced for the printed newspaper, which in the past year eliminated county zoned editions and recently folded its standalone weekday business section into the A section.

However, a new design for the AJC is set for launch April 28, with a new marketing push planned for the Sunday edition that generates a large chunk of ad and circulation revenue. At that time the paper’s width will also be reduced by two inches per page, saving about $2 million a year, Franklin said.

The AJC is hardly alone in grappling with ad revenue erosion that began in 2007 and accelerated with the recession. Troubles in the housing and auto industries have hit hard at those traditional pillars of newspaper advertising, and classifieds have been savaged by Internet alternatives.

Like many newspaper companies, the AJC has expanded its Web site to boost both readership and ad revenue. But online revenue has not offset losses on the print side, which continues to generate a large majority of revenue at major newspapers.

The distribution-area cuts will result in 107 full- and part-time job cuts in circulation, the paper said. Those workers can apply for any open positions elsewhere in the company, with those not selected getting severance.

Counties that will no longer get the AJC print edition are: Barrow, Bibb, Clarke, Houston, Monroe, Oconee and Putnam.

Anonymous said...

Can you guys post links and a snippet instead of a gigondo post?

Anonymous said...

Its sad to say, the fact that not one but 2 papers decided the Miss Cleo bit was newsworthy is part of why the industry is where it is.

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