To All Observer Employees,
As you know, McClatchy Newspapers must put into place significant expense reductions to address a sharp decline in revenues resulting from the ongoing economic recession. We are now in a position to move forward with specific plans for The Charlotte Observer.
We will reduce our present workforce by 14.6%, largely through the involuntary separation of 60 full-time and 22 part-time employees. We are reducing the work hours of some employees. Reductions will occur across most of the company, including Advertising, Human Resources, Finance, IT, News, Operations, Circulation and Marketing.
All affected employees are being notified immediately and told about transition packages. We deeply value their contributions to this company and regret that economic circumstances require these decisions. The Observer is, and always will be, the people who produce it. Please know that we reduced costs in every other feasible way before turning to the elimination of jobs.
To that end, we are taking another step that will reduce payroll while helping to prevent the further loss of jobs. We will implement wage reductions for all employees whose compensation exceeds $25,000 annually. Every employee will receive a letter detailing the impact on individual pay and have the opportunity to ask questions. Wage reductions take effect April 20th and will appear on your May 8th pay check.
Should business conditions continue to deteriorate, we may also find it necessary to schedule a one-week furlough for most employees for the second half of the year. We expect to make a decision on this by late spring or early summer.
As we have previously announced, we are also taking significant steps to reduce operational costs. All divisions have contributed to this effort. Each division continues to closely analyze expenses for savings that will help us work through this difficult business climate while also maintaining our commitment to our readers and our advertisers. A recent example was our decision to move the Business section into an expanded A section most weekdays. More details are forthcoming from individual divisions as they develop.
This horrible recession will pass. Thank you for all you are doing to keep us on mission until that day comes. If you have questions, human resources and your division vice presidents will work to get your answers.
Please post for those not on Intranet service.
President & Publisher
The Charlotte Observer
600 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Hat tip: email and comments. Photo credit: Doug Letterman on Flickr
Lousy news for a terrific paper. Hang in there, you all.
At least she didn't try and lie like some others (KC Star) and say that all departments would be affected. Of course management and editorial vermin are still untouched.
Thanks Raleigh, we love you too! Keep your chin up!
Yeah it semems CG,CC,SM,VF and others are immune to all this,why not consolodate all those jobs and save over a million but I guess they have to take out the lower paid people that ACTUALLY do something to produce the paper to make themselves look more important.Oh well thats how it is in "business" it won't be long like this and The Observer will BE beyond saving,and I hate that!I for one am cancelling my employee subscription today.
Great news for a lousy paper. Good ridance, you all.
From the Observer website:
Caulkins blamed the recession and especially the banking crisis for the Observer's plummeting advertising revenues, which she said were so hard to imagine that she hesitates to predict how the economy will affect the Observer in the months ahead.
...but Ann let's not mention the dirty little secret...Gary Pruitt's blunder of putting the company 6 billion in debt.....no let's not mention that.
Did the 82 get buyouts?
If so, McClatchy did them a favor. Everyone will get laid off eventually, and the last to go won't get buyouts. They'll be left with nothing.
In addition to the 60 and 22, a large number are being cut from full-time to part-time.
Managers will be dealt with and soon at McClatchy papers. I'd be very nervous if I was in management.
great news for a paper with a lousy publisher. love lexington
8:45, how could she mention Pruitt's blunder? How long would you keep your job if you wrote publicly about your boss's screwups?
Anyone know who got laid off in the newsroom?
I'd like to know what positions were affected. I know at The State it was a sports assistant editor, features assistant editor, two features writers, the online news editor (worked with, not for, the online team, I think), the metro editor, director of photography, one photographer - that's only eight out of nine. I don't know who the other one was. But that's the kind of information I'd like to have about Charlotte, Lexington and Raleigh.
Wild rumor of the day: The News $ Observer (Raleigh) publisher, Orage Quayles will assume the duties for The Charlotte Observer. Caulkins will be leaving. This makes sense if you look at what has gone on in the past few months. First the sports departments were consolidated with one sports editor running the show. Raleigh took over the State government beat, adding two Charlotte reporters to the mix. Just recently it was announced Linda Williams (Raleigh) will be the editor of both the CO and N&O feature staffs. Why have an overpaid publisher at BOTH papers. Now they can have an overpaid publisher in charge of both papers. Adios, Ann.
Where would you be without your hometown paper? Instead of being an inconsiderate idiot, think about the people's lives who are affected by this. NO ONE goes into journalism to make a lot of money, and the people who've managed to hang on this long have been doing it under monumental stresses, something every journalist knows a lot about.
You may think it's a "lousy paper," but when no one is around to cover your city council meetings, pay attention to corruption in the police force or wherever else, or provide a watchdog for your community, you will be SCREWED. Something a lot of people need to think about and realize.
A former journalist.
I'm one of the staffers who was laid off. I don't understand why the paper still needs so many effing editors when they've been cutting so much of their reporting staff. If there's hardly anyone left to write anything, what is there to edit?!
Anom1233 sorry to hear that. That's not what happened in Raleigh. They whacked a bunch of editors, some who had been at the paper a long time. And supposedly the ones who are left are going to be pulling double duty because there just aren't that many reporters left either.
Dear former journalist,
We won't be screwed. We'll get the info online... just like we're doing now.
Let's move these hot-poop journalists to a good Web site and let them keep doing what they love.
I personally hope Ann does leave,she hasn't been there for the people at the Observer,all she did was bring in some hacks to cut jobs.You know this just isn't about the writers,what about the people who put it all together and then the press people who reproduce it and try their damnest to get it on the streets ontime with so few? I wish Bruton Smith would jump in and buy the Observer he has shown many times he knows how to turn things around.And I'd bet he could here.I am going to miss the people I've worked with for so many years,I almost wish I would have been one to go because in the future there will be no severances.Until then I will do my job as I allways have and that is to produce a great looking paper with the plates and cheap ink they give us.............
Anne Caulkins is a heartless shrew with zero business acumen or emotional intelligence. That's not even the horrible part. She has a legion of sycophants in miniscule management roles below her..... So, I guess that means the end is near.
So a bunch of editors in Raleigh were cut? I know of the "breaking news" editor and the Durham bureau editor (former Sunday editor, I believe?) but not any others. Who else is among the fallen?
is there a list naming the raleigh cuts? haven't been able to find one.
As others have said, it's absolutely ridiculous how many low-level people have been cut in this round and all the past rounds. There are so many managers and no one left to manage at that place.
Dear former journalist,
The Charlotte Observer has not been a watchdog for local government in a long time.
Unfortunately, Charlotte has a newspaper cheerleader for every government scheme that comes along.
The amount of critical or investigative reporting in Charlotte is pathetic. It is not performed by the Charlotte Observer.
It is typically performed by bloggers like "Crime in Charlotte", "The Rhino Times" and Tara Servatious.
The Charlotte Observer is a lapdog for the local government powers.
As such, nothing will be lost when the Charlotte Observer fades away in the near future.
I used to work at the Observer and have seen the paper cut its staff 4 times in the past year. The quality has been tanking for at least 5 years. And there wasn't a hell of a lot of ballsy journalism there to start with. There are a lot of hardworking reporters here without the kind of talent that wins Pulitzers working for a bunch of middle management screw ups who spend most of their days with their thumbs up their butts. The talent has either moved on or never took the job offer due to the boot licking, lawyer sucking fear of writing anything of substance that might (oh goodness gracious)PO a Charlotte business owner or city councilman. Why do I have to look at Glenn Counts on Channel 6, just to find a decent crime story? The Observer has chased away most of the top talent it had in the past decade and they are shriveling into nothing. Sad to see newspaper journalism turn into this.
Really? So nothing will happen to a city when its newspaper is gone? Hmm, so far the study doesn't seem to say so:
"To the extent that we can extrapolate, we can say that local coverage is something the newspapers uniquely provide," he says, "and when people don't have it, they're much less engaged."
Good luck in that delusional world some of y'all seem to be living in, with no free press to let you know what's going on.
A former journalist
Dear Fellow Former Journalist-Maybe they'll keep 2 or 3 reporters and pay their salaries with the single pop-up ad they can sell for the website that replaces the newspaper. Momscharlotte anyone?
Just heard ,in the pressroom 3 supervisors are being placed back on the press as Crew Chiefs and the senior supervisor is being put back on nites,which leaves 1 @%&kissing sob to handle layouts and supervise the dayside "few" all Crew Chief Pay is now gone or as they call it added responsibility pay....this way the 3 supervisors can run the press w/o a pay cut and the other CC that have been doing it are SOL..also at least 4 pressmen are gone these "supervisor/cc dont have the knowledge combined to get the presses running on time much less make off times,the rest of us are in limbo,but I think we need to get as ugly as the "cutters" and sit back when problems arise and see if they like it....lord its gettting very ugly and I hope no one gets hurt as feelings and tempers are boiling.And I honestly mean that.
dear former journalist,
Don't worry about local news. It will happen because there is a demand for local news. But there is nothing sacred about the newspaper system of providing it. That business model is clearly broken.
The current problem is that the dying newspapers (like the Charlotte Observer) are preventing the new local media from forming. Because we have this struggling entity of local newspapers that are walking wounded, that sucks the energy out of new startups.
We need for these newspapers to simply be liquidated so that a demand is created. Then hopefully something new can rise from the ashes and be feasible economically.
The best thing that could happen for local news is for the newspapers to die. That will help new companies have a chance to experiment with what might work.
And what's the solution for all the former journalists? That certainly sounds like fewer jobs than journalists.
And what's the solution for all the former journalists? That certainly sounds like fewer jobs than journalists.
There will likely be fewer jobs available in the news gathering industry. There are no guaranteed jobs out there. If the revenue potential of the business does not justify hundreds of local reporters, that is life.
Let's face it. The average reporter puts out a pathetically small number of articles. In the new world order that luxury won't exist.
The Seattle PI is a good example. They just dropped their print version and Hearst is trying to make is pure online. They dropped 90% of the staff. They kept 20 reporters/editors and 20 advertising staff.
That might be the new model for the local news business. It might also fail. We won't know until these print newspaper fail so that we can experiment with what might work.
Let's get on with it. Let the dinosaurs die so that we can find something that functions.
Why do you suppose that anything will replace newspapers?
Institutions fail, cultures crumble, nations decline.
It's a crying shame that when the paper was still raking in huge profits, it didn't plow some of the money back into the business so it could weather this storm. Instead, those millions went to line the pockets of a relative handful of individuals who are probably out enjoying a nice game of golf today.
As for members of the public who seem to take such delight in people losing their jobs, where is your heart? Where is your soul? What did the paper (and life in general) ever do you to turn you into such a cold monster?
The Observer covered the loss of jobs of people in furniture, textiles and other industries with depth and compassion. Entire series were devoted to their plights, along with daily coverage.
I'm not in Charlotte, but I just did the math: my group is small, and 42% of the people in it are managers. That's crazy top heavy.
They need to hire (take money from Ann Caulkins salary) a consultant to come in a slash waste....there is plenty of waste!
Ann Caulkins is in over her head. She leans on the CFO for the numbers, she's totally out of touch with the workers, and she has never had a vision for success. Her mantra is do more, do more, do more. Even before the economic mess, she was burning through scads of talented people. Members of her executive team have said, "It's never enough." This is not a leader.
Good Riddance to a lousy mean place.
Check the credentials of the middle managers and you will see what plagiarism means.
No wonder they are going broke.
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