'Village Voice' Fires Art Director

Maggie · 12/19/07 07:00PM

Just in time for Christmas, the Village Voice has canned art director Chris Sauvé. In August, the paper parted ways with its longtime art director Ted Keller, whose position was handled for a time by Village Voice Media's design chief, Michael Shavalier. VVM papers have taken shots in the press for all looking alike—they really don't. But the Voice's art department has struggled in the last year to handle budget cuts, according to a source, as well as design directives from Phoenix-based VVM executives. According to a source, staffers under editor David Blum, who was fired in March, were frustrated by the impression that cover stories were chosen based on how well they could be illustrated. Voice editor Tony Ortega declined to comment on the specifics surrounding Sauvé's dismissal.

Merry Christmas From Laurel Touby And Her Creepy Friends

Maggie · 12/19/07 03:42PM

Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby and all her Laurel Touby-loving friends have put together a very special Christmas video to wish you happy holidays! From Touby's "media family" (which includes husband Jon Fine, Bonnie Fuller, and Arianna Huffington) to yours (which probably doesn't), please have a "warm and fuzzy New Year!" It's just like that I Am African campaign but without any social good and slightly less funny!

The MTV Networks Holiday Party

Maggie · 12/07/07 02:21PM

Last night, video guy Richard Blakeley and I headed down to the Hammerstein Ballroom to ask Viacom freelancers how they were, you know, feeling about getting Scrooged just in time for the holidays. Are they all revved up for the planned strike on Monday? "What strike?" said one guy. We're also thinking about adopting the kid who told us that he's currently unattached but if "he or she were, he would be at home." Oh honey, it really is probably time to give up the ghost on that "she" pronoun. Adorable. Inside, a huge glass snow globe was set up on stage; hired actors had a protracted "snowball" fight in it all night. Excessively pricey street theater is an oxymoron, we think. (Particularly indoors!) Very few senior managers were in attendance, though CEO Judy McGrath showed up briefly. Brave. Bonus! More party pix after the jump.

Viacom "Should Rethink The Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Severance Packages They Have Given To The Corporate Douchebags Who Have Left The Company In The Past Year"

Maggie · 12/04/07 04:50PM

Non-staff employees at MTV Networks had a meeting with the company's HR department this afternoon. Nearly 200 attended, and the HR person running the meeting said, "If we would've known so many of you were going to show up, we would've ordered lunch to help soften the blow." Lunch or no, it didn't go over so well! "It's a sinking ship. I think we're all fucked," is how one employee put it. Human resources had no plans to discuss any of the changes with their contractors, we're told, but supervising producers demanded the meeting take place. Attaway middlemen, tell 'em!

Maggie · 12/04/07 03:05PM

Turns out, as we heard, that Oxygen has indeed shitcanned a whole slew of people—25 percent of its staff, actually. The company fired 65 employees across various departments. The news comes two months after NBC announced it was buying the network and just two weeks after the sale was completed. Anyone getting the feeling that violence will be up more than usual over the holidays?
Previously: NBC Makes Oprah, Paul Allen Slightly Richer

The Viacom Permalance Slave System

Maggie · 12/04/07 01:25PM

Here's what we hear from what we believe has truly become the Viacom sweatshop. (One Viacom permalancer estimates that almost 50% of the staff are contract workers at this point.) A 50-hour workweek will now be standard, at least at MTV Digital (which means no overtime until after 50 hours, and no overtime at all for higher-level people, like producers and segment producers), and all will go from a day rate to an hourly rate. Healthcare, which was offered to permalancers after a staggering year of service, will now be offered only to employees who have worked 1,280 hours (25 of those 50-hour workweeks) in any one division. And that's the catch: Get transfered, as often happens, from VH1 to MTV or the like, and you start over on that clock.

'Times' Announces Newsroom Layoffs

Maggie · 11/28/07 01:50PM

About an hour ago, New York Times staffers received a holiday gift from executive editor Bill Keller—an announcement of layoffs! The cuts will come from the newsroom "for the first time in recent memory," according to the memo. A dozen "support positions" will be eliminated from the newsroom, along with "a number" of clerical administrative jobs; next year, several admin management positions will be cut. The Times apparently put a hiring freeze into place several weeks ago, and "except for those jobs that are critically important to our future ambitions, we intend to enforce it," Keller writes. Full memo after the jump.