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Plain Dealer to cut 38 in newsroom

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Colton, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Sorry if this is a DB, but a search didn't turn up anything.


    Plain Dealer to cut 38 unionized newsroom jobs
    Posted by Sarah Hollander October 07, 2008 19:04PM
    Categories: Breaking News

    The Plain Dealer plans to cut 38 unionized newsroom positions by year's end, further whittling the size of its staff.

    President and Publisher Terry Egger announced the decision to union members Tuesday, blaming worse than expected advertising revenue and hard times ahead for the newspaper industry.

    "This is a tough decision," Egger said. "But the end result of what we're trying to do is keep the newspaper strong and able to serve the community for a long time."

    The Plain Dealer is turning a small profit, Egger said, but much less than expected.

    Traditional media like newspapers, television and radio have suffered revenue declines in recent years because of a weakening economy and marketers' decisions to spend more on Internet advertising.

    Newspapers across the country, from San Diego to Akron to Newark, have been trying to cut costs through buyouts and layoffs. The nation's biggest newspaper chain, Gannett, recently announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs at its papers.

    At The Plain Dealer, the target number represents about 16 percent of the newsroom's Northeast Ohio Newspaper Guild members, including reporters, photographers, support staff and some editors.

    Employees have been given until Nov. 20 to decide to leave voluntarily. If 38 don't volunteer, the paper will then move to layoffs, Editor Susan Goldberg said.

    The severance package would include two weeks of pay for every year worked; health insurance is not part of the package.

    No decisions have been made yet on who should be cut, Goldberg said. Layoff criteria will follow provisions of the union contract, which include job performance, special skills or abilities, adaptability to future work assignments and length of service.

    "I think every department will be affected to some extent," she said.

    The decision comes at the tail end of a buyout offer made to most of the paper's non-union employees, including newsroom managers, as well as employees in advertising, circulation and other departments. They were offered six to 18 months pay and health care coverage, depending on their time at the paper.

    Egger said 10 newsroom employees took that buyout, but he wouldn't give a company wide number. Still, the paper needs to cut expenses further, he said.

    In 2006, The Plain Dealer offered a buyout to all of its employees. Sixty-four newsroom employees left at that time in exchange for severance packages that remain among the most generous in the industry.

    The newsroom now includes 299 employees, with 238 of those represented by the union.

    Rollie Dreussi, executive secretary of the local guild, said members wonder why more management jobs aren't being cut. "Our people provide the content," he said. "It's unfair for us to take the burden of 38 people."

    The paper's owner, Advance Publications, for many years has pledged not to cut non-union employees for economic reasons, although their job duties can be shifted.

    Dreussi also said he hopes the company reconsiders its decision not to offer health care coverage.
  2. Trey Beamon

    Trey Beamon Active Member

    So you're saying Ace has a chance ...
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

  4. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Sounds like not even 38 people who are clearly good enough to work for the Plain Dealer have a chance.
  5. The Ace jokes were predictable, but let's not have too much fun with this. More people in our business getting the shaft.
  6. Fran Curci

    Fran Curci Member

    This is when the relatively new executive editor and managing editor get rid of the people who have questioned their decisions in the last year or two.
  7. Goldeaston

    Goldeaston Guest

    Wonder if seniority comes into play here. Didn't they just hire Brian Windhorst from the ABJ? Does he survive? And didn't they recently hire Pluto, when they had two perfectly good columnists already?
  8. Fran Curci

    Fran Curci Member

    Anyone hired by the new administration will be safe. Bank on it.
  9. sg86

    sg86 Member

    The only notable sports person I could see getting the boot is Branson Wright.
  10. Scoop returns

    Scoop returns Member


    I think you are out of line calling out an individual like that. This is a serious time for people and folks don't need to see their names out there like if nothing is concrete.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    Looks like I've got a better shot with the Cleveland Press these days.
  12. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    Can't believe I'm writing this, but I gotta agree. No matter how good or bad a reporter is, this is a scary time for all of us.
    Good luck to everyone over there.
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