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Lexington Herald-Leader buyouts

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Upstatesfinest, May 6, 2008.

  1. Apparently the LHL is offering buyouts to 4 percent of its newsroom. Not sure how many people that amounts to. As some of you may know, sports has one or two candidates. But I would think the main beat writers (UK, preps) are too young to qualify yet.
  2. http://www.kentucky.com/779/story/397288.html

    Herald-Leader offers employee buyout

    The Lexington Herald-Leader Co. is offering voluntary buyout packages to selected employees to reduce its work force in the face of declining revenue from advertising and circulation.

    An estimated 4 percent of the newspaper's 385 full-time employees and managers are expected to be accepted by the company for the program, Publisher Timothy M. Kelly told employees on Tuesday. The actual total could be higher or lower than 15, depending on who applies.

    Advertising salespeople will be ineligible for the program, Kelly said.

    The packages, which were distributed Tuesday to eligible employees, will include financial benefits and extended coverage from the company's health insurance plan.

    Employees will have until May 23 to accept or reject the offer. The company will then have until May 30 to decide which employees will leave. The selected employees' final day with the company will be June 6.

    The package is not the first of its kind for the Herald-Leader. A similar program was offered in 2000.

    "This is a very difficult decision, not reached easily," Kelly said during an employee meeting. He noted that many Herald-Leader employees had been with the company for decades and were a close-knit group.

    But Kelly said the Herald-Leader is not immune from the economic realities that are affecting media companies nationwide, including many that have offered similar staff-reduction programs.

    "We remain a profitable newspaper," he said. "We are just not as profitable as in the past."

    The Herald-Leader's average paid daily circulation for the six months ended March 31 was down 1.4 percent to 109,603 copies, according to a recent report from the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Sunday circulation was down 2.7 percent to 135,250.

    Both declines were less severe than the national average losses of 3.5 percent in daily circulation and 4.5 percent in Sunday circulation for all newspapers reporting to the ABC.

    When traditional newspaper readership is combined with usage of the Herald-Leader's Web site, Kentucky.com, the total audience on March 31 was 556,278 households, up from 551,633 six months earlier.


    A quick rundown of the LHL sports gang (http://www.kentucky.com/404):

    - Gene Abell, sports ed
    - Mike Fields, preps (might qualify)
    - Jerry Tipton, UK hoops/U of L football (might qualify)
    - Maryjean Wall, Horse Racing
    - Chip Cosby, Louisville hoops/UK football
    - Mark Story, Columnist/Features (and an alum of my paper)
    - Jennifer Smith, Preps/Women's sports
    - John Clay, Columnist
    - Mark Maloney, Lexington Legends MiLB,
    - Rick Bailey
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    How do you know if someone might qualify or not? The story doesn't give any indication I see about what the parameters are -- except no ad salesmen.
  4. I don't.

    I was assuming - OK, I know what happens when you assume - the length of tenure/age of employee that many buyouts feature. For all I know, the entire sports staff might be eligible.

    The LHL is a paper I grew up reading and could see myself working for. I know most of the sports gang personally and it would be strange not seeing them at events.
  5. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Letting Tipton walk out the door would be a monstrous mistake.
    Guy is a machine.
  6. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    Dude owns the beat. May have the best beat-ownership in the SEC.
  7. Tipton has fairly young children, and Mike Fields still has at least one kid in high school, so neither of those would be close. I think the candidates could be Rick Bailey, Art Lander Jr., and possibly Mary Jean Wall. The copy desk could have one, but it's had some turnover in recent years.

    That list above left off Alicia Wincze (enterprise/horse racing), who was hired a few years ago from one of the horse racing publications.
  8. Tipton has been at the LHL since 1981 and was at a WV paper for eight years before that. I'd think he'd be close in both age and tenure.

    Fields, according to his Fields Notes blog bio, has been at the LHL for 28 years. Again, if tenure is a qualification, he'd be up there.

    Bailey, I'd think, would be more eligible than most. He might be as old (or older) as Fields and Tipton. I don't think he's been an LHL employee near as long, though.

    I'm not too familiar with Lander and Wall.

    And I did omit Alicia. There may be a GA reporter in there too not on the list I posted.
  9. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    I could see Bailey and Maloney, but Fields? He may qualify, but talk about a hard man to replace.

    And no way the HL lets Tipton leave. Well, no way they good.
  10. I'm not hoping the LHL lets guys like Tipton (one of the best college hoops writers in the country) and Fields (the tops preps guy in the state for quite a while) and Maloney (a very good, versatile writer) go ... I just happen to think those are the three most likely candidates for a buyout. Who else would even be eligible? Wall? Lander? Clay?

    I've learned a lot from Fields and Tipton just being around them at events. Even as a young wet-behind-the-ears rookie, those two are a pro's pro.
  11. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I hope you never learn differently.
  12. chester

    chester Member

    Slight threadjack, maybe, but is the Jennifer Smith who works at the Herald Leader the same one who attended UK in the mid-90s and was a managing editor of the Kernel around 95-96? Just curious.
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