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Richmond's reaction

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Moderator1, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    The good folks at my old paper had a staff meeting yesterday where this plan was unveiled. About 50 people sent it to me afterward. I'm not sure what to think so I wanted to present it for discussion. I like parts of it and it doesn't seem a bad plan on first glance. Maybe I feel that way because I know they're going to do what they can do avoid cutting people but I still get a nagging feeling (and knot in my stomach) that it is coming.


    I know that those of you who tried to phone in to today's staff meeting
    were cut off just before major changes we're announced and that others
    were not able to make the meeting at all. So here is a synopsis of what
    was discussed.

    Because of the economic conditions facing the T-D and Media General, we've
    been asked to cut costs. We've cut our expenses about as much as possible,
    but we need to find more ways to save money.

    We have come up with a plan to do that by cutting about 16 pages a week
    out of the paper. If that sounds like a lot, it is. But we've also been
    working diligently to come up with a plan that will preserve the
    journalistic integrity of the paper and add content in areas that we know
    readers want.

    Here are the key points:

    >> We will not make any cuts in the Sunday paper because we feel that is
    the foundation of the franchise.

    >> We will have a "destination" each day of the week. It will be Metro
    Business on Mondays, a Discover wrap on Tuesdays, an expanded Food section
    on Wednesdays, an expanded Home & Garden section on Thursdays, Weekend on
    Fridays and Channels plus a section/wrap to be named on Saturdays.

    >> On Mondays, we will combine the A, B and Flair sections into one News
    section. The focus of the Monday news section will be to prepare readers
    for the week ahead.

    >> We will drop three other sections out of the paper: Monday and Friday
    Flair sections, and the Explore section.

    >> We will move the comics, the TV grid and the Back Page content into a
    "Fun & Games" spadea that will wrap the Sports section every day. A spadea
    is basically a 3-page wrap -- a half page on the front of the Sports
    section attached to a full page on the back of the section. It will easily
    pull off.

    >> We will add a second spadea on Tuesdays called Discover that will
    combine content from the current Explore section with the Mini-Page. This
    section will target kids involved in our Newspapers in Education (NIE)
    program. Some of the content that will be included will the Sci-Kids
    column, and the Try This and Science Matters graphic.

    >> The Food and Home & Garden sections will be six pages.

    >> Weekend moves to Friday. We're still trying to decide whether it will
    be a broadsheet or tab.

    >> We will move the weather map from the back of the B section to A2 and
    cut it from a half-page to a 5 columns by 5 inches.

    >> A2 will also feature a large online promo.

    We are in the process of doing mockups and will do a press test of the new
    sections next week. We have also assigned team leaders or champions to
    each of the new sections to involve as many people as reasonable and get
    as many good ideas as we can. If you're interested in helping or have
    ideas about the changes, they are the people to contact.
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Seems like a pretty valiant attempt by the T-D. Let's hope that's all they have to do.
  3. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    Hopefully it will work and will be a model for other papers. Trying anything (okay, almost anything) to keep people on the payroll is a good thing, indeed. I'm sure it will be well received, because we all know Richmonders are known for their eagerness to change. ;) There in lies my concern. :-\
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    From a purely personal standpoint, not crazy about the three-page wrap around sports. Those things annoyed the hell out of me when I dealt with them on the Herald-Leader.
  5. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    A wrap around the sports each day? Wow.
  6. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    To be fair, the front is only a half-page, like full-length but only halfway across.

    Annoying as hell if it were connected to the sports section, but OK if you can just slip it off.
  7. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Prediction: The reduction of the weather map creates the most drama. For some reason, weather is a really popular part of the paper, even though it's usually the first page done and more than 12 hours old by the time anyone sees it.
  8. MMatt60

    MMatt60 Member

    Was a sports editor hired to replace you-know-who?
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    No. Steve is running the section but still listed as a deputy. It is my hope they change that soon and promote him for real but I sure as hell have no say anymore.
  10. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    Some of the stuff sounds interesting, but won't cutting space now just set the stage for cutting staff later ("well, we have 16 fewer pages per week than before, so we don't need the same size staff to put it out.")?
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    That's the fear among the masses.
    But I will say this sincerely, as I have no more bacon to save there: I truly believe they will look at staff cuts as a very last resort rather than a first or second option as many places seem to be doing. They don't do everything right at Richmond. Who does? They are sincere when they say they will look at every possible option before cutting people.
    The market better change quick.
  12. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    So they're cutting space, doing away with whole sections, but they're going to put a large promo on A2? That seems odd.
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