At an all-hands meeting last Friday, Christian Science Monitor staffers were told that the paper is restructuring and will cut about two dozen jobs over the next 18 months. “We will retain the capacity to cover the most important stories of the day,” says a memo to staff, “but a significant share of our resources will be focused on targeted topics. …This means we will cover fewer topics, but do so with authority, insight, and healing impact.”

The full memo:

The Monitor’s Role in the World at this Hour
November 17, 2015

The Christian Science Monitor is a purpose­-driven organization. It is one of the most direct ways the Christian Science church engages the world. It’s integral to the daily practice of Christian Scientists as they pray and broaden the scope of their consciousness. And it’s a valued resource for anyone who cares about the world and wants to see healing and progress.

What does the world need now from The Christian Science Monitor?/CONTINUES Read More

Gawker Media executive editor John Cook announced Tuesday that Gawker.com is shifting its focus to politics. Gawker.com editor-in-chief Alex Pareene followed that up Wednesday morning with a memo stating “politics means the campaign, sure, but it also encompasses business, money, the Internet, culture, and most of the rest of the beats Gawker has always been on.”

Here’s the rest of his memo:

It is probably overdue for me to lay out my vision for Gawker, and how I plan, with your help, to achieve it.

It’s true: Gawker is going to become much more political. The Gawker I want to do is going to extensively cover politics, defined very broadly (and in more detail below). But at the most fundamental level, I want to be the editor of the Gawker that I want to read: One that is smart and arch and fast and slightly weird. Gawker should be a news outlet that regularly does what other news outlets would never do, because they’re too self-serious. Our ideal reader, and my ideal site, is smart as hell, but unpretentious./CONTINUES Read More

Columbus Dispatch staffers on Tuesday received the email below from recently appointed publisher Brad Harmon. My tipster – a retired journalist from that paper – notes that “dressing up in the colors of a major institution that we supposedly cover objectively flies in the face of integrity.” The Dispatch’s editor agrees, and has told his staff they’re exempt. His memo is below the publisher’s.

Let’s support our Ohio State Buckeye’s [sic]!

Wear your OSU gear to work on Friday, November 20th in support of the game with Michigan State on Saturday. If you have appointments with clients then accompany your OSU shirt with business casual attire.

Let’s have some fun!

Brad Harmon

I’ve asked editor Alan D. Miller if newsroom staffers have to wear Buckeyes clothing, too. The Dispatch was sold to the GateHouse chain in June after being family owned for over a century.

UPDATE — Miller tells Romenesko readers: “The publisher understands that the newsroom operates differently than other divisions of the company, so I sent this to the newsroom staff to clarify that:

All,

While we appreciate the Buckeyes, and while staff members are free to cheer for their favorite teams in their own ways on their own time, we report the news and cheer for no one. So we won’t be wearing Buckeyes gear to work.

Thanks.

Alan

Tulsa World letter to the editor, November 13
newdrug

Piraro is contributing to the K2 (synthetic marijuana) problem in Tulsa? Ridiculous, he says. Here’s what the “Bizarro” creator tells Romenesko readers:

I started putting K2 in my cartoons before the drug was invented, or at least before I’d ever heard of it. The idea that tiny “messages” like this could encourage drug use is utterly ludicrous, of course, but as the fourth commentor (Ron Hill) on that article clearly demonstrates, not everyone who can read has enough brain power to understand what they’re reading.

No matter how old and wise I get, the ignorance of some people still blows my mind.

* Letter to the editor: A subliminal message about K2 (tulsaworld.com)
* Twenty-three hospitalized after exhibiting K2-like symptoms in Tulsa (tulsaworld.com)

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review announced on Tuesday that it’s laying off 153 full- and part-time employees as part of a “sweeping restructuring.”

The CEO’s memo:

Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 10:15 AM
To: triball
Subject: Important Announcement
Importance: High

Dear Fellow Employees,

As you know, for the past several months the Board of Directors of Trib Total Media together with the senior leadership team has been engaged in a strategic review of our company in order to best position us for the future and to meet the changing needs of our readers, subscribers, advertisers, partners and employees.

Our founder, Richard Scaife, spent 45 years building this organization and we are proud of his legacy. However, we’ve been forced to take a close look at our bottom line and business operations in the midst of an evolving newspaper industry. In addition to the new financial constraints that the Trib must acknowledge, the industry’s digital landscape has dramatically altered how consumers get their news. We are not immune to those changes./CONTINUES Read More

titan
sweatshirt

Romenesko reader Gina Tenorio-Norris spotted this girl and her “I’m a journalist…I’m never wrong” hoodie at Friday night’s Grand Terrace (CA) High School/Colton High School game. “I saw the front of the sweatshirt,” Norris writes, and “it did say Titan Echo Staff.” That’s the name of Grand Terrace High’s student newspaper, which is apparently edited by some very confident teens.




- Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, November 2, 2015

– Lincoln (NE) Journal Star, November 1, 2015

* “William D. “Bill” Avey, 78 of Lincoln died July 5, 3015″ [sic] (Google cache)
* Correction: William D. “Bill” Avey is not deceased (journalstar.com)

– h/t @KenPaulman

Earlier on JimRomenesko.com:
* Oops! George Soros is not dead yet
* Man is surprised to see his death notice in the Milwaukee paper

Staffers at National Geographic – now controlled by Rupert Murdoch – received this note from their CEO on Monday:

Message from Gary Knell – Important Information to Be Communicated on Nov. 3rd

To all NGS Staff:

After very careful and serious consideration, we are ready to communicate how our restructuring and transformation will affect each employee at National Geographic. To that end, please make every effort to be available tomorrow, November 3rd, either in your regular work location, and/or by phone.

If you are traveling for business, on vacation or plan to be out for any other reason, please notify Tia Freeman-Evans or Yvonne Perry in HR immediately, so we can make alternative plans to get in touch with you. If you know that someone on your staff will be out of the office on November 3rd, please let Tia or Yvonne know by 3 p.m. (Eastern) today, as well.

Please watch your inbox for important information about your employment status tomorrow.

I cannot thank you enough for your patience and hard work over the last few months. I am proud of how our teams and our organization have approached and responded to this transitional period. Looking ahead, I am confident National Geographic’s mission will be fulfilled in powerful, new and impactful ways, as we continue to change the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling.

Gary

Donald Winslow, editor of News Photographer magazine, is tweeting about the layoffs. “No one knows how many, at this point,” he writes. “Staff sitting by phones waiting to be called down one by one to HR.”

* Sept. 9, 2015: Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox buys National Geographic media (pbs.org)

UPDATE: “We’re changing our structure along with how we work,” Knell writes in a follow-up memo.

Date: Nov 3, 2015 2:30 PM
Subject: An Important Message from Gary Knell
To: “All NGS.org”

To all NGS Staff–

To change the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling has never been as important as it is today. We are transforming National Geographic to be better positioned than ever to deliver on this mission./CONTINUES Read More

Freedom Communications, which owns the Orange County Register and the Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise, filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday. Also, publisher Rich Mirman announced that his investor group is bidding for the company.

The former casino marketing exec tells a Register reporter: “I’ve caught the bug of what news journalism can do in its community. I’m very intrigued by translating what we do into a long-lasting business. There are ways to make money in new and innovative ways.”

Register and Press-Enterprise staffers received this Mirman memo at 1 a.m. Sunday:

Colleagues,

Nov. 1- Almost a year ago to the day, I made a commitment to you and the communities we serve that I would dedicate myself to improving the company’s financial well-being. My goal was to reestablish the company back on a trajectory of growth.

Thanks to all of you, Freedom Communications is on pace to generate a profit in 2015. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.

Despite this momentum, however, the accumulated financial losses incurred in 2013 and 2014 under previous leadership have left its mark on the company. Even with our recent success, the business is struggling to cover its financial obligations and is overloaded with debt./CONTINUES Read More

A Romenesko reader writes: “In what has become a common occurrence for The Arizona Republic, another year has gone by and the company has shed another round of talented journalists. This time we lost them to Gannett’s early retirement buyouts. I just wanted to share this FANTASTIC letter written by an old editor of mine commemorating his 32 years in journalism.” (Martin Dolan took the buyout and cleaned out his desk on Friday.)

From: Dolan, Martin
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 2:40 PM
To: [Arizona Republic staff]
Subject: What’s a pica pole?

I write this fully aware that three-quarters of you have no idea who I am. Such is life, even when you’ve been around a place for nearly 32 years (trust me, that was never my goal; I just kept finding more things to keep me interested).

I started here as a copy editor — for the unaware, those are the folks who used to be a writer’s best friend, because they’re the heart and soul of a news organization — in 1984, in that low-slung slab across the street. I later was night editor (NOT coach; no whistles or polyester Sansabelt shorts were involved), assistant city editor, weekend editor, rewrite (look it up), copy editor again, “print finisher” and, finally, online producer./CONTINUES Read More