Tag Archives: Layoffs

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

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

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.


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 (

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”

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

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

Lee Enterprises closed its Regional Design Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, last week. I’m told by multiple sources that 36 jobs were lost. One tipster writes in an email: “Those who don’t transfer will receive severance pay. I’ve been with Lee for several years, and my golden parachute is a whopping $6,000. Others were offered far less.”

From: Doug Ranes
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 6:49 PM
To: #Newspaper Editors; #Publishers_Corporate Directors_and_CEO Team; LEE-RDC-Leadership
Subject: News Design Center consolidation

We are announcing today the realignment of Lee Design Centers as part of our continuing focus on compelling newspaper content and design. The changes in the Lee Design Centers will provide our local newsrooms with more time and resources to gather and produce meaningful and engaging local content.

Over the next several months, newspapers designed in the Lincoln design center will be reassigned to our centers in Madison and Munster. With this transition, our newspapers will become more aligned with our future design strategies, and it also creates opportunity to simplify a number of production processes and become more efficient.

Staff in Lincoln will be given an opportunity to apply for positions in Madison. Those displaced by the transition will receive severance.

If you have any questions on timing or operational issues, please call myself or Ben Cunningham.

Douglas L. Ranes
Director of Production
Lee Enterprises Inc.

In other Lee news, St. Louis Post-Dispatch carriers are accusing the newspaper chain of violating their operating agreement. The lawsuit’s claims include: Carriers aren’t being compensated properly for Sunday and weekend papers; and subscribers are being charged for papers that aren’t delivered when the subscriber is on vacation.

* St. Louis Post-Dispatch carriers sue Lee Enterprises ( | (

He was the Sun-Times’ Homicide Watch reporter

You’d think a reporter covering murders in violent Chicago would have some job security, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case for Michael Lansu. The laid-off journalist tells Romenesko readers:

For nearly two years, the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning was check last night’s murder totals. I am going to enjoy having a cup of coffee before logging on. I have nothing lined up yet. I plan on taking a few weeks off to recharge and then maybe start freelancing until I can find something permanent.

I really believe in the Homicide Watch project and hope the Sun-Times can continue to tell the stories of Chicago’s 450 annual murder victims.

In a city where police murder totals have been called into question, I think it’s vital to have somebody keep tabs for accurate reporting.

I’m told that Homicide Watch will continue, but the paper is “integrating the HW reporting more into our overall content mix.” Lansu was the only Sun-Times staffer laid off today.

* Homicide Watch Chicago ( | @mikelansu (

New: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers

A Romenesko reader writes: “This goodbye email is from Chuck Berman, photographer (well, formerly now, after yesterday’s [Chicago Tribune] layoffs), which is one of the classiest and most heartfelt goodbyes we’ve had here. It so perfectly sums up why the people we work with make this profession both great (and heartbreaking when we lose people like Chuck).”

On Monday I wrote Rex Huppke a note that I liked his column [right]. On Tuesday, I was laid off.

Coincidence? I think not.

I had a great 37 years at the Tribune. This newspaper and my camera let me knock on people’s doors, take some pictures, enter their lives and enrich mine. So many times, I enjoyed putting my cameras down and talking to these people, sometimes more than the photos themselves. I’ll always keep doing that and talk to strangers. Everyone has a story and some are really, really good.

I have been blessed to work with and be friends with an amazing pack of photographers, reporters, editors and lab techs (and others I’m sure I left out). I even married one of them, for which I am eternally thankful.

Now, my life will be filled with more birds, more lost golf balls, more history books and more stories to hear.

Lucky me, for everything.

Thank you, everyone. Cheers.



* Chicago Tribune lays off 25 employees (

University of Montana j-school dean and former NPR reporter Larry Abramson was one of the first to tweet the news Thursday about Lee Enterprises closing its Montana state bureau, which serves newspapers in Billings, Missoula, Helena, Butte and Hamilton. I’m told the Billings Gazette newsroom learned of the bureau closing through Abramson and that staffers were called into an all-hands meeting five minutes after his tweet was posted.

The announcement is so big in the state that it’s on the front page of today’s Gannett-owned Great Falls Tribune. Its editor, Jim Strauss, says “the loss of the Lee Bureau is a hit to the watchdog role of Montana media.”

My sources say veteran Lee political reporters Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison were told by Billings Gazette editor Darrell Ehrlick that they had a choice of a 40% pay cut or a buyout. The men chose the latter. (I’ve asked Ehrlick to comment.)

Ehrlick told a Montana Television Network reporter that Lee is changing the way it does state coverage, and that instead of focusing on state government and politicians, it will look at news on an “issue and regional level.”

A Montana journalist writes me in an email: “Utterly pissed about this and concerned about what this means for political coverage in a state where they [Johnson and Dennison] were essentially the only ones reporting.”

My regular readers know about Lee CEO Mary Junck and her executive team taking big bonuses after cutting newsroom staffs. On May 10, the University of North Carolina gave Junck an honorary degree.

* Lee closes its Montana state bureau ( | (

New: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s new owner offers buyouts (

A Romenesko tipster and Gannett employee writes:

One of the remarkable aspects to [last week’s USA Today] buyouts is the number of top execs leaving. Along with Money editor Anne Willette and deputy editor of personal finance Rodney Brooks [mentioned in this post], they include:

* David Colton, Executive Editor
* Susan Weiss, Executive Editor
* Brian Gallagher, Editor, Editorial Page.
* Dennis Moore, Managing Editor, News
* Fred Anklam, Senior Night Editor
* Bonnie Tkach, Director of Edit Operations
and a bunch of other editors, reporters, photographers and graphic artists.

There are still big outstanding questions, including:
* Will the new Gannett bosses insist on further layoffs before July 1?
* Will [editor-in-chief David] Callaway and [publisher] Larry Kramer stay?
* Will there be any hiring after July 1, the target date for the spin-off of the publishing company?

Will the top bosses be pushed, or depart voluntarily?

I don’t think Kramer and Callaway are going to be replaced so much as they may want to leave on their own, especially Kramer. I don’t think either is clear on what their roles will be in the new company. That said, it would surprise me if they don’t stay through the year.

Laura Petrecca is USA Today’s new Money editor. The memo is after the jump. Read More

The 40 or so staffers at the McClatchy Publishing Center in Charlotte have been told they have to reapply for their jobs and that eight people will be let go. Employees find out on March 23 if they stay with the company. (The publishing center journalists handle copy-editing duties for the Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, and the Rock Hill Herald.)
“Consolidated operations are easily maligned, especially when bad mistakes make it to print,” writes one of my tipsters, “but these people already shoulder an immense burden. I can’t fathom how they’ll keep up after the staff is further reduced. They deserve better.”

A second source writes: “Knowledge of social media will be a plus during this ‘eval/re-hire’ process, as will editing video.” Employees will be judged in part on this digital skills survey.

The source continues: “They had called copy editors ‘universal editors’ in the past. Now, they will be called “digital specialists.’ Meetings/evals have already started. Once finished, they’ll make the announcements [on March 23] and those who don’t make the cut will have to work for a period of time to get their severance.”

* Digital skills survey
* Team leader job description
* Digital specialist job description