Hey, how about some more terrible news? The LA Times is laying off 75 people from editorial. "This is about 10% of our total staff and these cuts are comparable in scale to those made on the business side of The Times last week." Sigh. So soon after their redesign launch! Yes well innovation director Lee Abrams will probably have something innovative to say about all this, soon. This is not even the extent of the bad news. See, over the weekend the FAS-FAX circulation numbers came out and basically everyone lost. Circ was down more than 5% for the LAT. Meanwhile, on our coast, the Newark Star-Ledger is slashing 40% of its newsroom staff. They are trying to sell the paper but no one wants it. It is basically a bad time to enjoy getting a paycheck. Sadly, the Newspaper Industry is not too big to fail.
It's always fun to see a journalist fall on his sword. It has that righteous feel of a principled but stubborn man putting on his dinner jacket to sit calmly on the deck of the sinking Titanic. Except in the case of the newspaper industry, that man would eventually float to the surface and go into PR. Anyhow, the editor of a Southern California business paper called The Business Press got himself stone cold fired for blasting out an adorably serious email about how design changes are eroding the paper's credibility. He was promptly ejected from the building! Fey big city media elites who mock traditional newspaper values can learn something from the memos below. (How to get fired):
You're forgiven if you don't know there's a company a few miles north of Google that pulls in more than $10 billion a year selling drugs. Genentech makes the cancer treatment Avastin, the arthritis and lymphoma drug Rituxan, and the breast cancer fighter Herceptin, each of which bring in a few billion a year. Its stock, which trades under the symbol DNA, nearly touched $100 a share yesterday, a three-year high. Market cap is just over $100 billion, not far behind Google's $118 billion. Once you know all that, it's not surprising that the company nixed a buyout offer from Roche, its majority shareholder. San Francisco's bid to become the world's biotech center is moving more slowly than planned, but just you wait another ten years. These little drug companies are going to get a lot bigger.
We were sent this tear-jerking tale of the going-away party for a New York Times employee who got the best gift ever. "The story: Merrill Perlman, the director of copy desks at The Times, who has 'chosen' to leave the paper (read: got pushed out) received a send-off today in the same spot where the Pulitzers were given out earlier this year. (This, after the farewell had originally been scheduled for the Page One conference room - never mind that the copy editors constitute the biggest staff in the New York office.)" Read on!
More than 100 employees accepted buyout packages from the Washington Post. Including some famous people! Like Thomas Ricks, whose reporting on the military and the Pentagon has often been fantastic and essential during these miserable war years. Also taking early retirement from the paper is Laura Sessions Stepp, whose reporting on lifestyle trends has annoyed everyone in the DC metro area for years now. And two of her best pieces started national conversations.
David Broder, who's been rehashing conventional wisdom at the Washington Post for nearly 500 years (or like 20), just accepted a buy-out. He'll still contribute to the paper as contract employee, though. We wouldn't want David Ignatius to get lonely! Still no word on whether executive editor Len Downie's taking a buyout too. Many people hope he will, as it'd give the paper a chance to shake things up. And a new editor might help solve the war between the paper and Post online. [Politico]
An emailer: "15 people are to be let go at Fortune mag; about 8 through buyouts." Also, "[Money executive editor] Craig Matters left to run Fortune.com, the two deputy MEs were promoted to co-ExecEd's (yes, that is a bit bizarre and not so workable) and the photo editor Jane Clark was fired Friday. Mg. Ed. Eric Schurenberg also just lost superstar Jason Zweig and another editor (Cybele Weisser) to the WSJ. Craig was in charge of the Best Places to Live uber-franchise and many writers at the mag have said they'd bolt if Craig left." Folio confirms all this besides the Jane Clark firing. Anyone else have more details?
The Times is short of its goal of 100 staff buyouts, so 30 newsroom staff will likely be laid off in the next month. This would be "the company's first-ever mass firing of journalists in its 156-year history," according to Keith Kelly at the Post. But there's a chance that number could be reduced, since the Newspaper Guild has yet to obtain an official count - Kelly's number is based on his own inside sources. In any case, it looks like the cuts may very well fall on the feisty Metro desk, which has turbocharged the paper's internet presence and is probably the last place the paper should be cutting:
The New York Times is desperate for some of their overpaid, aging staffers to accept a buyout deal. A staff email yesterday pleaded with people to gracefully take the money and run—'cause if they don't, there will be layoffs. Now we don't want to see that. It breaks our heart. No, we'd much rather some noble Times stars just pack up and leave. So we asked you who should take buyouts. You named names! Now, we poll. The winner of this poll has to quit the paper, or else they'll have layoffs on their conscience. Poll below! Choose wisely!
Among the names floated by Radar yesterday as possibly taking a Times buyout was Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor overseeing journalistic standards. Whitney sided with public editor Clark Hoyt in a recent internal Times feud over semi-nude photos in T Magazine of a 17-year-old girl (pictured) whose blurred breast was exposed. Hoyt and Whitney argued the photo did not belong in the paper, T and the main Times Magazine basically called Hoyt and Whitney Philistines. The folks at T would be happy to see "prudish" Whitney go, claims one observer, if only because they see his very job as unnecessary. Of course, it was barely a month ago that Whitney was reminding everyone to attempt to interview multiple people when writing profiles. Sometimes a prude is just what you need.
New York Times Associate managing editor William "Bill" Schmidt just sent an email around the paper begging people to accept buyout offers, for the good of everyone else. "Each buyout we record before next Tuesday reduces the number of layoffs we will have to seek." Retire! Earlier today, Radar media critic Charles Kaiser named a couple people who might take buyouts, but none of them were people we want to see leave. None of them are responsible for Thursday Styles, after all. Though we suppose the idea is for old people to leave, right? Can Clyde Haberman take one? Wait, is Clyde Haberman still alive? Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Dan Barry can stay as long as he goes back to investigative reporting and not writing columns about quaint happenings in quaint places. Oh, and COUGH COUGH ALESSANDRA STANLEY? Your further suggestions are appreciated. Full memo after the jump.
Should we be worried that The New York Times, Newsweek and The Washington Post are buying out their old seasoned writers and leaving behind a bunch of young reporters who possibly don't know what they're doing? "No!" says Jack Shafer. According to Slate, these voluntary buyouts (also known as "If we pay you a large sum of money, would you please leave already?") are going to end up revitalizing journalism.
The Newsweek buyouts have happened and they're more extensive than originally predicted. Let us remember that a buyout is a far better fate than layoff. These fallen writers are in a better place now. A place with The Golden Girls and The Price Is Right. After the jump, a bit more about those who have left Newsweek for a retired journalist heaven.
We're not sure we can forgive the crotchety old Tribune Company owner. It's one thing to curse at your staff. And making layoffs is harsh but necessary. But doing away with public tours of the L.A. Times headquarters? Sam Zell, you just crossed the line, big time. As part of a cost-saving measure, the L.A. Times is canceling tours and their resident guide Darrell Kunitom is accepting a buyout. Full buyout list, including Pulitzer Prize winners and a good chunk of the Times's Washington bureau, after the jump. [via LA Observed]
Popularity among dentists doesn't count for anything anymore. Newsweek is planning to buyout an estimated 10 percent of its staff this spring. The actual number of Newsweek employees is kind of confusing, what with contract workers and random bureau chiefs. One writer guesses that about 40 people will take a deal and doesn't think there will be layoffs. "Like everyone else, they're trimming the staff. But since it's the Post Company we're not going to fuck anyone."
An internal memo alerted Newsweek staffers that funds collected during the Tip Sheet Holiday Sale in December are missing. Donations to the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund—who would have guessed that a Washington Post property would be donating to the New York Times?—have been compromised, along with Newsweek staffers' bank accounts. Newsweek offers to reimburse any associated banking fees. But much more intriguing than this goof are rumors of an upcoming buyout. Know anything? Drop a line. Full Newsweek memo after the jump.
We're hearing that the New York Times has changed its mind about giving buyout packages to six of the employees eliminated in newsroom layoffs announced last month. Instead of a package that would have included benefits for a time, they'll walk away with severance packages, which don't include benefits. A source tells us that the severance packages are worth about a third less than the buyouts originally promised. In November, the Times announced it would cut a dozen newsroom positions and "a number" of clerical administrative jobs.
When we spoke to New York Times flack Catherine Mathis on Tuesday, she told us that the "$14 to 16 million" in planned staff reductions for this fourth quarter of the year were "not unusual." Mathis said she had "in front of me a chart that goes back to the first quarter of '06 and we've had buyouts in place in every quarter over the last seven quarters." This is an excellent example of providing selective information!