Friday, October 23, 2009

Modesto Bee publisher says he will give details about an "operational reorganization" next week... says "no additional staff reductions"

Eric Johnston, publisher at The Modesto Bee, told employees in an email Friday that he will provide details next week about an "operational reorganization" now underway at the company -- and he assured employees the changes will not result in staff reductions. Here is the email:

-----Original Message-----
From: Johnston, Eric - Modesto
Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 4:04 PM
To: MODB Everyone
Subject: A quick update

Good afternoon everyone,

Last week I announced the beginning of an operational reorganization that would result in changes through our company. Earlier this week I detailed changes in our finance department.

We have worked to restructure our company in a way that will allow us to operate efficiently with reduced resources, continue to provide top-shelf services to our customers and readers and prepare for future growth opportunities. To be quite honest, I am very excited about the changes we will be announcing.

I understand that there may be some anxiety about further announcements related to this reorganization and I apologize for the delay. Before I can clarify our new structure I need to make sure I have everything necessary in place - as of right now I don't.

Next week I will outline how we will restructure our company based on the staffing and resources we have today. To be clear, the plans I will share next week will NOT include additional staff reductions.

I appreciate your understanding and thank you for everything you are doing to help us through these challenging times.

Have a great weekend.


Eric Johnston
Publisher & President
The Modesto Bee



Anonymous said...

....until after the first of the year.

Anonymous said...

Amen. Which sounds exactly like when the lights will go out in the building. After all, how can they stay on when the person who actually MANAGES the building/facilities is being let go? Employees have now been reduced to emptying their own garbage...what next? Bring your own toilet paper? Or maybe a desk lamp when the overhead lights stop working? Haven't those wage cuts, furloughs and staff reductions saved you ANY money? And you're "excited" on a day that also happens to be the last day for the 7 folks laid off last week? ...some who have been there over 20 years? I'm sure they were glad to know that as they were packing up that last box...your compassionate choice of words was reassuring, to say the LEAST.

Anonymous said...

Same crap that's going on at other McClatchy papers. They're putting more emphasis on the online product, consolidating copy editor duties and staff, demanding reporters use modern news-gathering tools (video, Twitter, etc.) and shifting responsibilities and titles. In other words, more work and pressure for the peasants.

Bradley J. Fikes said...

Publishers and some editors are prone to this Dilbertesque corporate-speak. The goal is to make the briefest possible mention of problems, then spin them in the most positive way. It must be done that way to reassure the shareholders, because it sure doesn't deceive the journos.

I don't see anything wrong with reporters being encouraged to use Twitter. I've found it a useful tool in my own reporting. I just hope the worker bees won't be hobbled with the restrictions imposed on journos by the integrity- and veracity-challenged executives at WashPost. Let's get past this nonsense about pretending to be unbiased. It's not fooling anyone.

Video is another story. It's time-consuming to do right, and it should be only used for something that is compelling in a video format. I did a video of a hip replacement operation that may have qualified, but that was an exception. Most stories don't lend themselves to video, and the time taken in doing the video takes away from reporting the story.