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Newhouse gets on the furlough train

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    From The Pipeline:

    This may already be on another thread, but Mobile Press-Register is requiring 10 furlough days by the end of the year. Same with Birmingham. Haven't heard about Huntsville, but I assume it's the same deal.

    They're announcing the news to employees in meetings today.
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    And the hits just keep on comin'.
  3. Dadgummit, Moddy. I tried to post this but the server went down or something.

    Also heard 10 days in Mobile. Can be taken in full days or by hours...must be taken by Nov. 1.
  4. Pendleton

    Pendleton Member

    From E&P:

    NEW YORK Advance Publications is instituting mandatory 10-day furloughs and a pension freeze at nearly all of its daily papers outside Michigan, according to Steve Newhouse, chairman of Advance.net and a company spokesman.

    Those Michigan dailies, meanwhile, are undergoing a string of changes that include cutbacks in frequency for some and consolidation of operations for others.

    Word of the furloughs began to spread last week, but formal announcements were going out today at most of the company's Newhouse Newspapers, including The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.; The Plain Dealer in Cleveland; The Oregonian in Portland; The Times-Picayune in New Orleans; and The Staten Island (N.Y.) Advance, as well as the chain's dailies in Syracuse, N.Y.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Harrisburg, Pa.

    "Most of our papers will have two measures," Newhouse said. "One is a freeze of our defined benefit plan, or pension, that will be paired with an increase in our 401 (k) match. The other is a mandatory 10-day furlough, unpaid furlough."

    He did not cite newspapers that would not be affected by the furloughs, other than The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J., which is threatened with closure next month if cutbacks cannot be instituted.

    Newhouse said the furloughs would likely be required within the next 12 months or by the end of 2009, he was not sure. He also did not have specific figures on the 401 (k) increase.

    "It is certainly a difficult day. We are facing unprecedented economic challenges," he said. "Especially in Michigan and the ever-growing challenges to the newspaper business have been documented."

    Newhouse also noted planned salary reductions in Cleveland and Portland, but did not have specifics.

    In Michigan, several changes -- some already reported today by E&P -- are occurring. The first is the shutdown of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News and the launching of a new, local Web site there. Newhouse said some current News employees may be involved, but stressed, "I don't want to sugarcoat this, it is a significant reduction."

    Elsewhere in Michigan, four newspapers -- in Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Muskegon -- will consolidate some functions, but remain seven-day papers. But three other dailies -- in Flint, Bay City and Saginaw -- will consolidate further and be reduced to three days per week print publication.

    "Our publishers and we have been deciding particular responses for different markets, trying to make smart choices," Newhouse added. "Our overall objective is to build our local franchises in a sustainable way, and keep up the good journalism we do. These are responses to the changing events and the problems in newspapers."

    Newhouse had no specifics on losses sustained by the newspapers in recent months or the past year, or advertising revenue details.
  5. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    More from The Pipeline:

    Mobile publisher Howard Bronson and other bigwigs met with employees in multiple meetings -- including in the far-flung bureaus -- to announce the furloughs. Employees can take their 80-hour furlough in any amount, assuming their supervisor approves. Among the options floated were 10 32-hour weeks, 20 36-hour weeks, two weeks' unpaid vacation...or any combination thereof.

    Also, the company's pension program is frozen.

    Higher-ups worked hard to push the "bright spot," is an increase in the paper's 401k match, from 50% of the first 4 percent to 100% of the first 2 percent and 50% of the next 6 percent.
  6. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    If I have to walk away from this profession somewhere down the line, I'll be doing it with no malice toward the Newhouses, frankly. I truly believe they've done everything possible to make this hurt as little as they can.

    Today hurts some, sure. But there are places and people hurting a lot more. Those are the people I ache for.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    The chain does many things well. And what they've done so suddenly, especially in Michigan, is stunning.
  8. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    They gain some points for that, but they lose them right back for the 8 percent cut of the first $50,000. So those fortunate enough to make more than $50,000 suffer less than those who make less than $50,000.
  9. Hammer Pants

    Hammer Pants Active Member

    Two good friends in the business have jumped to similar-sized Newhouse papers in the past few years because of that corporation's solid reputation.

    It sucks, but I guess no one is safe.
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