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Small papers vs. big metros

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by budcrew08, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Seeing all the layoff threads are ridiculously depressing, but there's one thing I've noticed in just about all of them: They are all big metro or semi-metro papers. Papers with 75, 100, 200K circ.

    You don't see this as much for smaller papers (circ 25K or less). Is this just the obvious 'not as many people, so you don't have to lay off as many?'

    Or could it be that small papers are already down to bare bones and can't cut anymore?

    Serious answers, please.
  2. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    I'm at a small daily and we've cut one reporter position in the last two years and we have no photographer, which was dropped seven or eight years ago. We have a staff of less than 10, so we are pretty bare bones. We have any more layoffs, I think we cease to be an entity.

    Living in Ohio, the only way most of the small dailies around here could cut anymore is if they completely folded. My paper, one sports writer position has fallen from $26,000 to $19,000 in ten years.

    At that level you aren't looking for talent, just any sort of competence.
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Many small papers' staffs are pretty heavily cut to the bone anyway. They went through their big rounds of layoffs 4-5 years ago in my area (Central Indiana), when Paxton & CNHI bought a lot of non-union family-owned papers.
  4. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Ding. Ding. Ding.

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

    Our joint is ridiculously understaffed. We're a 20K daily about an hour outside a major, major market.
  5. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    I think we are too... We have 10 12 staff total. I don't think you could do it with less. 8,500 circ for us.
    EDIT: Forgot photog and our newsroom assistant. Just counted editors and reporters.
  6. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    I'm at a 16K daily. We have 19 full-time positions, although we currently have three open (two deskers and a clerk) that are going to be filled. In the last year, we've added a part-time photographer who will probably be full time before the end of the summer. Our advantage is that we're family owned, and our publisher is happy to turn a reasonable profit, not an absurd 25-30 percent. If we ever got bought by a big company, and I doubt that will happen since the publisher's daughter will likely take over, any company would come in here and start slicing jobs.
  7. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Nine reporters, two photogs, three copy editors, a sports editor and an opinions page editor make up the unionized positions. There are four editors (night, city, web, managing) that make up management.

    That's our newsroom.
  8. times38

    times38 Member

    having worked at several small dailies and non-dailies, what seems to be happening the most with them is just not filling positions again when people leave until you get to a point of having the absolute minimum amount of people you can have and still put out a product.
  9. TheS

    TheS Member

    I'm at a 26K daily, and we had layoffs in March — four in the newsroom, 15 total in the company.
  10. UPChip

    UPChip Well-Known Member

    I'm at a 10K circ, 6-day daily. Our sports staff is 2 full, 1 part-time, and the part-time can't take pictures or build pages. So, I think I'm safer than most. Our entire newsroom staff is four editors (chief, managing, lifestyles and sports), a layout guru, a photographer, four reporters and the sports staff.

    Another paper in our group (same size) is just two full-timers in sports, and because there's a dearth of talent in our region, they've been looking for a number two sports guy for two months. The other two in our group have D-2 colleges, so they have three full-timers on staff.

    I'd argue a third way to the original question: for small-staff papers such as ours, the number of cuts you could make and still be viable doesn't save enough money to make them worthwhile.
  11. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    Work at a paper between 20-25K 6 days a week and haven't had a layoff in the 13 years I've been here. In fact, they have actually added a copy editor, a couple of reporters and an online editor since I've been here.

    We have 10-1/2 reporters (one shared with sister paper), 7 editors and a designer on the news side. Sports we an SE and 3 full-timers and a part-timer with no stringers. We're family-owned (2 dailies) and starting to feel the pinch a little bit.
  12. pseudo

    pseudo Well-Known Member

    What he said. Two small-town dailies here, privately owned since 2001 or thereabouts. The 15k didn't replace their main preps guy when he moved out of the area last fall, which left three full-timers to cover NFL and D-1 hoops beats plus approximately 30 high schools (with another writer picking up home games for the regional NHL team). The 12k doesn't print on Sunday, uses wire for everything but preps, and gets by with two.

    Those numbers include both SEs, of course. Copy desk? See above. If readers wonder why their high school's game rates only a paragraph in a roundup? See above.
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