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St. Pete, err, Tampa Bay Times, cuts pay, people

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 1HPGrad, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. 1HPGrad

    1HPGrad Member

    Haven't seen this here or anywhere, but last month employees received 5 percent pay cut (offset somewhat by an interesting twist on furloughs: 5 extra days off this year but with pay).

    Layoffs started this week. More are expected today. Don't know a total or goal, and haven't heard whether sports has been/will be affected.
     
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    This may be the second or third pay cut in the last few years...

    I know St. Pete had done pretty well throughout all of this, I only know of a couple people who were cut, mostly it was just not replacing people who left.

    But I guess it caught up with them.
     
  3. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    First I'd heard of layoffs. Link?
     
  4. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    I assume the week's free vacation is meant to dull the pain of the 5 percent pay cut, so good for them for doing anything but cut and slash, I guess.

    If they stretched as thin as everyone seems to be these days, I wonder how that's going to work, getting everything covered and staffed on the desk properly while getting a week's vacation scheduled for everyone in the final 11 weeks or so of the year.
     
  5. mediaguy

    mediaguy Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    Is a 5 percent cut and a bonus week of vacation better than a week of furlough? Other than not having a week with zero income, how is it better? Newspaper gets to cut everyone's base salary by 5 percent, which doesn't happen with a furlough.
     
  6. HackyMcHack

    HackyMcHack Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Florida has a one-week elimination period on unemployment benefits, so a week's furlough is truly unpaid, unlike some other states (such as Georgia) where you can get unemployment bennies for the week off.
     
  7. podunk press

    podunk press Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    There's always a way to do vacations. It usually isn't pretty, but we make it work out here in Podunk.
     
  8. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    Yeah, the pay cuts and furloughs were announced in both Bay area papers about a month ago, but, surprisingly, the news doesn't appear to have been posted here.

    That said, yes, layoffs began this week. Mrs. Hack, who no longer works at the "Tower of Power" -- thank God -- hears from her former colleagues that the copy desk is being specifically targeted this time around, with special "attention" being paid to long-time (read: highly paid) employees. The effects are already seen in the print product as well as online.

    There's a new policy in place as well: Two reads only for front-page copy (with one of those reads coming from the designer at proof stage), and one read only on inside copy.

    My not-so-bold prediction is that the Times may save a few million dollars over the next few years through payroll cuts, but the strategy of eliminating the gatekeepers is going to be worthless when the company loses a multimillion-dollar libel suit because the remaining editors are either too young or too exhausted from overwork to catch a major mistake. Mrs. Hack says the stuff that came to the desk -- even after line edits by bureau chiefs and assignment editors -- regularly included libelous material caught only because of skilled, experienced deskers.

    So, yeah ... good luck with this, St. Pete.
     
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    A lot of papers are leaving themselves wide open to such a lawsuit when a skeleton copy desk misses something.

    And yes, St. Pete has had its share of cutting in recent years but has managed to do it all pretty quietly.
     
  10. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    I offer an opposing view on this one: If having fewer reads on the copy desk causes line editors to actually have to take responsibility for what they send over, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Most line editors aren't incapable of catching such things. Many, in my experience, are just lazy.
     
  11. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    In some cases, I believe this completely.

    I don't think the issue is as much with "only x amount of eyes are reading this copy", but the fact that the number of eyes reading that copy also are rushing to do 5 other things at the same time because the workflow is falling on fewer and fewer people.

    And that's fine, it's just the way things are these days. But the bosses also need to accept that as a fact of life. At my former shop, when an error would slip through or deadline would get blown out of the water, we'd get the e-mail from our ME that says, "I am very well-aware of our staffing limitations, but that is no excuse."

    It was ironic that those "staffing limitations" were never bad enough to make the asshole ME decide to stay past 6 p.m. on any day ...
     
  12. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Re: St. Pete cuts pay, people

    Fine in theory. Unlikely in practice.


    Bingo.
     
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