Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fresno Bee to lay off 51 employees in circulation department

The Fresno Bee will lay off 51 employees who work in 4 distribution centers in Fresno and Clovis, the Bee announced this week.

Fifty-one employees in The Fresno Bee's circulation department will lose their jobs when the company restructures its delivery functions.

Bee Publisher and President Will Fleet said Monday that The Bee will contract with private companies for delivery services. The transition will occur in phases, and is expected to be finished by Jan. 31.

"This decision is another step in identifying ways to operate more efficiently at The Fresno Bee while maintaining our focus on what we do best -- offering a quality product to our readers and advertisers," Fleet said.

The change is similar to what has occurred at other newspapers, including sister publications The Sacramento Bee and The Modesto Bee. While profitable, The McClatchy Co., parent company of the Bees and 27 other daily newspapers, faces not only declining revenue but heavy debt from its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc.

The move is the latest by The Fresno Bee to cope with a struggling economy and revenue losses associated with the demise of major advertisers such as Gottschalks, Mervyn's and others.

The 51 employees work at four distribution centers in Fresno and Clovis. The company's regional operation that oversees home delivery and single-copy sales in outlying areas will continue to be managed by employees. The Bee also retains employees in circulation sales, customer service and marketing in the main office. Fleet said the paper's goal is to create a seamless transition for home-delivery customers.

Employees who are laid off can apply for jobs with the companies that take over the circulation duties. Circulation employees who are not offered comparable jobs at The Bee or other McClatchy companies will be eligible for a severance package.

The layoffs are the fourth at The Bee since June 2008. After this round, The Bee will have 355 employees, about half what it had before the recession.

Hat tip: email


Anonymous said...

50% less people needed to distribute McClatchy’s postage stamp size newspaper of DNC talking points.

I’ll bet weight wise, the paper is probably also literally 50% smaller.

Maybe for marketing purposes, McClatchy could rename the paper, the “Fresno Postage Stamp” or even the “Fresno Rubber Stamp?”

Like Newsweek’s marketing plan of culling their herd of subscribers, loosing more money and then touting their “Less is more” strategy, which McClatchy’s is proudly emulating in Sacramento, maybe McClatchy is also shrewdly applying this smart business tactic in Fresno?

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is a reason the Bee is losing so many subscribers? I certainly can’t figure it out. Do pardon me, while I watch them whistle past the graveyard.

The Washington Post Loses in Virginia. How their effort to beat McDonnell backfired. (WeeklyStandard)

Bob McDonnell won big tonight in the Virginia gubernatorial race, as did the entire Virginia Republican party. The implications of the race will be sorted out soon enough.

But one big loser is the Washington Post which may unwittingly have helped the Republican, despite their best efforts to put his opponent over the top.

On the last weekend in August the Post ran the first of dozens of stories about McDonnell's 1989 masters' thesis, in which he wrote, among other things, that working women were detrimental to families and that government should favor traditional marriage over gay unions.

While they didn't know the exact target, the McDonnell camp was expecting, as one top adviser put it, a "hatchet job" from the Post.

Anonymous said...

Sac Bee's news boss Melanie Sill admits blatant bias in editorial today:

"There's no dispute that The Bee has a liberal editorial page on most issues, though not all matters, and has mostly endorsed Democrats.

We won't change our editorial philosophy to placate critics."

Anonymous said...

Sill's ill-advised comment is merely the captain vowing to go down with the ship.

Anonymous said...

Story in today's Wall Street Journal predicts a newspaper nightmare if 4Q ad revenue doesn't pick up. Cost cutting has saved them so far, but it doesn't sound good for the big chains and there's not much optimism over Holiday revenue. Fresno's layoffs will seem like small potatoes very soon.

Anonymous said...

Consolidating the newsrooms of Fresno and Modesto into Sacramento is the final option if print operations are to continue in Fresno.

It's all copy /paste the national wires nowadays, so enticing 'citizen journalists' for no pay local coverage is the last gamble.

Anonymous said...

Copy editors to make sense out of "citizen journalists" stories will be important. Talented, hard-working editors will be a position of job security while reporters continue to be shown the door. A moment of silence for our copy editor friends who will be driven mad by amateurism and embarrassing raw copy.

Anonymous said...

Fresno... Do not trust Management and whatever promises they make. They will tell you whatever they need to tell you to keep you working to the very end.

Document all your comp days with your Supervisors and use them when you want not when it is convenient to them. Make sure you use all your comp and sick days.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

"Fresno... Do not trust Management and whatever promises they make."

I hope this is nothing new to you.

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Anonymous said...

Terrible customer service on the phone, very unprofessional.