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Position eliminations: Ballpark figure

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by butch, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. butch

    butch Member

    I know discussions on position eliminations are often posted here, so I apologize if this is repetitive.

    But let's say you're trying to explain to a person not in the business just how many positions in "major metropolitan" newsrooms have been eliminated or re-organized. Ballpark figure. It seems like several large dailies have cut hundreds at a time in the last several years. Is there anywhere to identify such a number?
    For example: "In the last five years, more than X newsroom positions at newspapers with circulation higher than 100K have been eliminated or re-organized."
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I would be very confident in betting that the total number of editorial jobs in print journalism in the U.S. has been cut 20% in the last five years. At a conservative estimate.
  3. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    That sounds about right.
  4. That's a pretty sound guess at a number that's difficult to ascertain. And even jobs that weren't cut have been filled with younger blood.
  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member


    And I think 20 percent is a pretty good estimate. Headed toward 33.3 percent by end of '08.
  6. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Here's a reporter's work rather than guesswork on this issue.....

  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I think 20 percent is way too high.
    Think about all the niche and free pubs that newspapers have started.Or start up community weeklies or online gigs.
    I would guess the total number is about even.
    Then you have this from the article Senor Kindred posted...
  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    You are aware, of course, that many newspaper owners are fudging the numbers to conceal the true magnitude of the staff cuts?

    Sure, when the Chicago Tribune or New York Times cut 100 positions in the newsroom, it makes news, but when the Podunk Daily Bugle goes from 22 to 17 in the newsroom, it doesn't.

    And going from a $40,000 full-time newspaper job to $50 per story stringing for a free-pub, isn't exactly an equivalent trade-off.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Especially when a lot of those 22-to-17s are not actually laid off, cut back or eliminated.

    They're "frozen," never filled, then forgotten.
  10. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Exactly. Small-and-medium papers have always had a lot of turnover (in days gone by, due to people moving up to jobs at bigger papers; now it's people simply leaving the business because of shitty sub-minimum pay and corporate brutalization); formerly those positions were filled (even if sometimes slowly).

    So now, the Hooterville County 6-Daily Honk goes from 12 people on staff to 10, then 8, then 6, then 5. Somehow, they get some kind of paper out, and in a few months, somebody leaves, and then they're down to 4.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'd agree with around 20 to 25 percent over the last five years... It starts with positions where someone leaves, but the job is never filled, then you get the buyouts and positions being eliminated...
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    You dump 10 people making $50K through layoffs, buyouts and just plain departures. Then you hire nine people at $30K for Web site jobs or the free daily.

    Job decline = 10 percent (from 10 to 9)

    Salary decline = 46 percent (from $500K to $270K)

    That $230K saved buys a lot of "content" at $50 per story. And since Big Daddy Publisher and his peers have thinned the herd, there is a steady supply of "journalists" available for the $50 piece-work.

    Leaves a good $150K a year or so to go into Big Daddy Publisher's pocket as reward for a hatchet job well done.
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