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Big cuts in Akron

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Ohiowriter, Jul 28, 2006.

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  1. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Well, let's understand that the new owner is the guy who saved the Honolulu Star-Bulletin when no one else wanted it. He didn't save everyone's job, but he did save the paper. Whether these kinds of drastic measures are necessary in Akron, a one-paper town, is open to debate. But I don't think we can be ultra-cynical about his motives just yet.
  2. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Frank, I get that -- but did you read that quote? It's pretty much a slap in the face to everyone in newsrooms everywhere.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    You mean this one? “I don’t really believe that quality of a newspaper is a direct function of body count in the newsroom,” said Black Press CEO and president David Black in an interview with Reuters. “I walk through way too many newsrooms where I see people just talking or looking on the Internet and having fun.”

    Well, I have to agree that a high body count does not always ensure the quality of the product, and I have been at some large newspapers where some people get away with doing little or no work. I do not know if that's the case in Akron, a paper I've always admired.
  4. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    We're always having fun. Going to work is like spending a day at Chuck 'E' Cheese.
  5. busuncle

    busuncle Member

    I find it hard to believe that's true. If the CEO is walking through my newsroom, I'm going to at least LOOK busy. I'll check my fantasy team later.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I've worked a couple places where a few people literally slept while at their desks. I mean, actual snoring.
  7. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    The one good thing to come out of all this:

    When I decide to drop landline in lieu of cell and wireless Internet, I can tell Qwest that "In order to get my expenses more in line with my revenue I needed to give some of those expenses the chance to pursue other opportunities in other environments. It was a business decision and I hope you understand. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors and I'd like my services cut off by the end of the month."

    See, bean-counters? I can play, too.
  8. boots

    boots New Member

    The CEO saw what he wanted to see, what employees are doing on down time. And let's face it, he did tell the truth. However, he should have also watched his employees at deadline time to get the full effect of what happens in a newsroom.
  9. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    frank - when i was in college and was taking a three-credit, one-night-a-week class, i knew a guy who ran out to his car and smoked herb during the long break. using your logic, i guess that makes all students bad.
  10. Birdscribe

    Birdscribe Active Member

    Frank, have you seen the Star-Bulletin since Black moved in? It's two steps shy of journalistic irrelevancy.

    Pardon me if I reach cynical already, but when a paper lays waste to a third of its newsroom despite a healthy profit margin (and even if it's not the 21% Morgan Stanley claimed, it's still somewhere in the mid-teens), the only emotion to rival cynicism in this province is sheer, unbridled disgust.
  11. Ohiowriter

    Ohiowriter Member

    Here's the deal. In Ohio, a rustbelt state with an aging and decreasing population, the economy is shrinking. It isn't the 1950s-70s when it was the rubber capital and a manufacturing hub. Leftover are the unions, rather strong ones, and they have earned some Ohio journalists very, very good salaries. A few years ago when that study came out about newspaper salaries and the cost of living index, Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, and Canton were all in the top 10. Maybe the top 7. The salaries at these papers, top scale ranging between 50-70K, is out of whack with papers of their size in the rest of the country. This is the Midwest folks, you can still buy a nice, four bedroom house in a good neighborhood for $175K. So 60K is good money.

    In Cleveland, a family owned company with lots of $, they are trying to be humane and offering buyouts...for now.

    In Toledo, where the workers pay $0 for health care and make 60K a year, the contract is up and the paper is aiming at busting the union. A strike might happen.

    In Akron there is several years left on the contract, so the new owner can't bust the union yet. I'm sure he'll try. So he comes in, fires the publisher and, with no ties to anyone on the staff, looks and sees labor costs are out of line what way people at 140K circ. newspapers make in state X, Y, Z. So he reads the contracts, sees he can make layoffs, and orders the labor costs to be in line with those other places as a matter of implementing a new business plan like all new owners do. So the new publisher, who doesn't know the staff either, wipes out 40 people and goes home for dinner and probably gets a bonus check.

    It doesn't matter to these people who gets cut on what beats or what the customers think about it. It is all numbers on a page that gets e-mailed to corporate headquarters. You think they have Pulitzers on the walls of these places? Hell no, they have charts and graphs. This is reality.
  12. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    ohio - thanks for the dose of reality. your last graf drives the nail home in a way many people don't want to believe.
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