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Newhouse ... joining the lemmings? Or something else? Or just Newark?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    From Memos to Romenesko, which I'm going to take off my bookmarks because it has nothing but misery these days.


    And the kicker:

    The memo itself (bold-faced items are things I found interesting):


    From: [Newark Star-Ledger publisher] ARWADY, GEORGE
    Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 12:29:34 -0400
    To: Star-Ledger employees
    Conversation: Clarification of Pledge
    Subject: Clarification of Pledge

    June 25, 2008

    Dear Full-Time Non-Represented Employee,

    With the newspaper industry in turmoil and your newspaper losing money, the importance of the company's job-security Pledge to non-represented full-time employees such as yourself has never been greater. Just last week there were announcements of large layoffs at the McClatchy newspapers – layoffs that could not happen here because of the Pledge.

    As I have written to you several times, the Star-Ledger has been implementing a variety of plans to reduce expenses and create new sources of revenue. Last month's closure of one of our two production plants has gone smoothly. We have purposely reduced circulation to save on printing and distribution costs. We have tightened the newshole and reduced promotion ads. On the revenue side, we have launched dozens of successful advertising initiatives and have many more planned.

    As I also have written, the bad news is that all of the steps we have taken thus far have not been enough yet to offset the unprecedented fall-off of advertising revenue, especially classified advertising revenue in the help-wanted and real estate categories. Virtually every newspaper in the country, especially large papers such as The Star-Ledger, has seen revenue plunging for the last two years. At this writing, the revenue declines are continuing, and it is certain that the paper will lose millions of dollars in 2008, as it did in 2007. We have plans, however, as the full effect of the cost-savings steps take effect, and as new revenue initiatives mature, to get the Ledger back into the black in 2009.

    In the meantime, it is important that we make the meaning of the job-security Pledge as clear as possible. To do so, we are again clarifying some of the wording, much as we did several years ago, when we made it clear that you must be willing to be re-trained for other jobs if the Company determines it is necessary.

    When our Job Security Pledge was first announced more than 25 years ago, it was warmly received by all eligible employees. Since then, it has been fully appreciated by thousands of employees, many of whom retired after 25 or more years of service. I know of nothing like it in our industry, or any other.

    Since its inception, the concept of the Pledge has always been to protect our full-time non-represented daily newspaper employees from layoffs so long as the newspaper continues to publish daily in its current newsprint form. The Pledge never was intended to apply to weekly publications or to distribution of content over the internet. The Pledge’s protection is tied to the daily publication of The Star-Ledger's current newsprint product – not the functions you perform individually.

    I am taking this opportunity to reaffirm to you our commitment to our Pledge, which has never been more important than during the current economic and industry downturn. We also wish to make sure that the Pledge language is clear and unambiguous. The Pledge always has and will continue to protect the jobs of eligible employees unless our newspaper ceases to publish daily in its current newsprint form. The Pledge does not apply to situations in which our newspaper ceases to publish daily in its current newsprint form.

    Here is your Job Security Pledge:

    "The Star-Ledger proudly provides this pledge of job security to all full-time, non-represented employees who successfully complete a six-month probationary period: If you perform in a responsible, productive manner without misconduct, and you are willing to re-train for another job should our Company determine that it is necessary, you will not be laid off, regardless of changing economic conditions or the introduction of new technology or processes, as long as the paper continues to publish daily in its current newsprint form.”

    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about the new language. And thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of The Star-Ledger. By working together we can weather this storm and come out on the other side, stronger and healthier.

    George E. Arwady
  2. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Re: Newhouse ... joining the lemmings? Or something else?

    Coming next week: "We'll be skipping every third Monday. Hey, we're not a daily. You're fired!"
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Newhouse ... joining the lemmings? Or something else?

    The Pledge sounds like The Vote of Confidence for your last-place coach. Plus it's creepy when the publisher cites it nine times by name.

    The Pledge will protect you as long as the Pledge is valid under the terms of the Pledge.
  4. Re: Newhouse ... joining the lemmings? Or something else?

    I'm at a Newhouse shop and did not get said e-mail...I'd be curious if anyone outside of Newark got a similar e-mail.
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Newhouse ... joining the lemmings? Or something else?

    They're looking for an out any way they can get it.
  6. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    That was a little strange.
    So, does that mean online reporters/editors are not covered by The Pledge? Is that why Newhouse papers have such lousy websites?
    And are many of their papers union? Because it would appear, under terms of The Pledge, that Guild membership is a sure ticket to a layoff.
  7. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    The three in Alabama are not union. And I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop here, since my local rag hasn't been sucking nearly as bad as some of the others I see listed here.
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    The seven Booth newspapers in Michigan, owned by Newhouse, are non-union.
  9. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Hey long did it take a cocksucking Newhouse lawyer to come up with that hunk of shit letter?
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The Pledge will continue to protect you until at such times it doesn't. This I pledge.
  11. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    I work at a Newhouse paper in Jersey and we got a similar letter yesterday.
    The first four graphs of the letter were different, taylored to my specific paper (pointing out that although we lost two of our biggest advertisers we posted a 2% circulation gain).

    There was also a paragraph after the pledge about the challenges we've been facing as a newspaper and as an industry.

    Two years ago to cut costs, they moved the wire editing and printing of our paper to another Newhouse paper (press 30 minutes away, editing & paginating done an hour away). This year, that paper had to close one of its printing plants to cut costs, so we were forced to move our printing to a different Newhouse paper while the other Newhouse paper still does our wire editing and paginating.

    The pledge doesn't apply to the online division because that's a separate division altogether. I believe Advance Online (which operates NJ.com, Cleveland.com, and the other regional Newhouse sites) is a separate entity from Advance Publications (although they use the Advance/Newhouse papers for their content.
  12. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    That seems weird, then, if the Web is the way of the future to not include your online group under "The Pledge."

    Newspapers, which are dying, have security but the online group is not under the same security blanket. Maybe they have their own security pledge the Advance newspapers don't know about.
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