Letter to Romenesko
From “CONCERNED READER IN CALIFORNIA”: McClatchy-owned newspaper The Fresno Bee announced it was laying off five staffers on Thursday, one of whom was Lisa Boyles, the associate opinion page editor of The Fresno Bee and one of three members on the Editorial Board at the Bee. [Next Friday is her last day at the Bee.]
After a number of layoffs and staff rearrangements in previous years, laying off Boyles leaves the Bee with two Editorial Board members – opinion page editor Jim Boren and Publisher William Fleet. Translation: the paper’s editorials are written by one person (Boren).
Despite the cash-strapped nature of newspapering, it’s disheartening when the opinion page is a one-man show, even if that person is phenomenal.
I’ve invited Boren to comment on this letter.
UPDATE: Here’s the publisher’s memo:
Fellow Employees of The Bee, Vida en el Valle and Sierra Star,
All of you have continued to work hard and demonstrate amazing dedication in addressing the unprecedented challenges of the last several years. However, despite the progress we have made, the sluggish and uneven economic recovery necessitates some additional expense reductions.
Tuesday, we notified five employees that their positions are being eliminated. We’re also announcing a second one-week furlough for most full-time employees. The mandatory furlough begins Sept. 10 and furloughs must be completed by Dec. 30. Employees can begin taking furloughs as early as next week, if approved by their manager.
Decisions that negatively impact our employees are always difficult to make, and we know they are disruptive both personally and professionally. We are working closely with those employees impacted by position reductions to communicate severance benefits and provide transition support. We will also do our best to accommodate requests for furlough time off that is most convenient for you. Additional information about furloughs will be distributed by your manager.
Your commitment to our readers, advertisers and our community is applauded, and I thank you for your hard work and your perseverance during these difficult times. Please let your department manager, human resources or me know if you have any questions.