Thursday afternoon meetings are nothing to look forward to at newspapers these days

Washington Post Newsroom Nervous
Mick Gregory

As Washington Post reporters prepared themselves for their all-hands meeting earlier this week with executive editor Leonard Downie, they used five or six words to describe the mood of the newsroom — Harry Jaffe reports:

Anxious.
Depressed.
Restless.
Worried.
Angry.
#&!#!.
Arrogant.

angel-of-death.jpg

A month ago Downie issued a memo saying the Post would have to “shrink the newsroom staff” and “renovate sections” and tighten the news hole. Translation: fewer reporters writing shorter stories at different assignments.
Then earlier this week New York Times media writer David Carr, in a column about Washington Post Company head Don Graham, said, “Newsroom layoffs of an unspecified number are in the offing.”

Also this week, mulit-billionaire David Geffen has offered $2 billion to the Tribune company for the LA Times. (Hint to Tribune, this is a very rich guy who can affford to pay $4 billion for the LA Times. Hold out a little, then sell). Come on, YouTube went for $1.6 billion, and that is about 1,000 lawsuits waiting to happen.

Updated 12/15/06, Drudgereport: Trib management tell Geffen you need at least $1 billion more. OK, that would be great. Maybe the Chandlers would be happy with that, but then they’d have to watch the Hollywood elite make a mockery of their once glorious “Fourth Estate.”

In Philly: Inquiering minds want to know

“The Inquirer newsroom is bracing for the possible layoff of up to 20 percent of its approximately 410 reporters, editors and support staff.” That was a “ballpark” number.

Managing editor Anne Gordon had earlier reported that the editorial department had been asked to plan for “up to 150 layoffs,” which is considerably more than 20 percent.

Publisher and co-owner of the newspapers Brian P. Tierney said the number of layoffs would be something less than 150, depending on what kind of concessions they could get out of contract negotiations with the Guild.

Meanwhile, the arrogant former LA Times executive editor Mr. Baquet, (who refused to respond to shareholder and senior management requests to make budget cuts) says “I won’t speculate on the future.”

Mr. Baquet,

Why not? You are unemployed? Do you really think Geffen will give you back your cushy executive editor position in LA? (Even the the Chandler family wants more money, they don’t want their former empire thrown to Hollywood whores).

Why not prop your Cole Haan shoes on top of a desk in Santa Barbara? Imagine the gravitus you would bring! The publisher, McCaw will not return your phone calls? Why not go back to the New York Times?

Oh, Keller said they don’t have any openings right now for top executive editors.

Call Gannett, but first, brush up on the Web/newspaper transition. How are you on HTML? You really don’t understand business, free markets and economics 101. How about a few courses at the University of Phoenix? Oh, they won’t give you any credit for gravitus? And the pay is a bit below the standards you have grown to enjoy. Too bad.

How about your friends in high places in the Democrat party? Remember all the insider conversations. How about the time you published U.S. classified details about the legal and effective Swift counterterror program? That earned you some points with Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein, didn’t it? Oppsie, they aren’t returning your calls either?

Arrogant: overbearing self-worth or self-importance, example: newspaper executive editors.

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