More Layoffs at the Denver Post

Updated Feb 26:

Note to “journalists:”  Your socialist views promoted Obama and the Democrat Party take over of Colorado. Businesses small and large are the enemy of Democrats. They were your advertisers. Does Big Brother spend advertising in your newspaper?

The Denver Post announced the layoffs of six newsroom managers Wednesday as part of a cost-cutting effort. Big deal, you think? After hundreds have been “let go” over the past two years? Yes. It is big for them.

Dismissed, effective Friday, were Gary Clark, managing editor of news; Mark Cardwell, managing editor of online news; Erik Strom, assistant managing editor of technology; Ingrid Muller, creative director; Cynthia Pasquale, assistant city editor; and Stephen Keating, online special- projects editor. Keating will continue to work on a project for Post owner MediaNews Group.

The layoffs come as dozens of newspapers across the country are cutting staffs and budgets to deal with steep declines in advertising and circulation.

“These departures were forced by budget cuts I have to make,” Post editor Greg Moore said in a memo to staffers. “I think you all know the financial challenges facing this industry and this newspaper.”

MediaNews Group is negotiating with union-covered Post employees for $2 million in wage and benefit concessions.

Rocky Mountain News owner E.W. Scripps has put that newspaper up for sale, and may close it, because of mounting financial losses.

Scripps imposed companywide pay and benefit cuts Wednesday at its newspapers and television stations, although the Rocky Mountain News reported that the cuts will not apply to the News.

The reductions, announced in an e-mail from Scripps chief executive Rich Boehne, were reported in several Scripps newspapers. Scripps declined to publicly release what it described as an “internal employee memo.”

I wrote about Times Mirror pulling the plug on The Denver Post, Dallas Times-Herald, and Houston Post, some 13 years ago, next they sold the family jewels, the rest of Times Mirror to the Tribune Co., and we all know about Zell’s offer to take the company private.

This is what is in store for all the former Times Mirror papers:

Layoffs, cuts to the bone.

Memo from Denver Post editor Greg Moore

To The Staff:

On Monday, April 23, in the auditorium on the first floor, we will have two very important staff meetings. I don’t think there is any secret that our newspaper and others have been facing some challenging times.

Even though just a year ago we went through buyouts in an effort to reduce costs, the financial situation facing the paper and the Denver Newspaper Agency requires additional measures be taken. At meetings at 11 a.m. and again at 4 p.m., we will explain details of another round of buyouts in an effort to cut expenses without having to do layoffs. These buyouts will be offered to Guild and exempt employees. I really hope we are able to achieve the savings we need and every effort has been made to construct an offer that will help us get there. The meetings will give us a chance to share details of the offers with you and answer questions. I know this is tough and introduces more anxiety in already difficult times. But we will get through it.

See you then,

Greg

While the Chandlers live like royalty in California.

 

Singleton should be praised for saving the Denver Post. It very easily could have been the Post shutting down today instead of the weird, tabloid Rocky Mountain News.

35 thoughts on “More Layoffs at the Denver Post

  1. Denver Post reporters have been practically paralyzed for the past two months with fear that the end is near.
    Now a new string of layoffs begin according to a popular Denver blog.

    Jenny Deam, Jeff Roberts, Diane Alters, Todd Engdahl, Mike McPhee, lay offs, buy outs, Denver Post, Diane Carmen, Jim Spencer, Jim Sheeler
    The anxiety began ratcheting up on April 23, when editor Greg Moore announced that economic shortfalls necessitated the issuance of a buyout package — the second such deal offered over a twelve-month span. This time around, the paper was looking to slice as many as 25 jobs governed by Denver Newspaper Guild-negotiated contracts, and up to a dozen Guild-exempt positions. Moore made it clear that if enough savings weren’t generated by voluntary departures, layoffs would be coming shortly thereafter.

    As a result, Post toilers have operated under a heavy burden of uncertainty during recent weeks, with no one able to state with confidence which of them would be around for the long (or at least longer) haul, and who was bound for the sidewalk. Tensions rose again on June 9 thanks to a Moore memo announcing that only sixteen people had accepted the buyout, and they increased further after a June 15 e-mail from Jeanette Chavez, the Post’s managing editor/administration, listed just fourteen takers; veteran reporter Mike McPhee and columnist Diane Carman, who were part of the earlier tally, changed their minds. In the interim, Moore revealed that five others were leaving the Post via “involuntary separation” (a euphemism on par with “Peacekeeper missile”), including Sunday Perspective editor Todd Engdahl and columnist Jim Spencer, whose auto-reply message on his Post e-mail account now sports the plaintive plea “I need a job.” Still, the sum of these departures remained a long way from 37, leaving many younger employees fearful that they’d be making up the difference, since the Guild pact calls for layoffs based on seniority.

    The situation took another unexpected turn on June 19, the date of Moore’s latest memo. After acknowledging the “pins-and-needles existence” that marked the past week, he declared that “through a combination of monetary cuts and tough personnel reductions, we are now on track to meet our targeted budget number for next year.”

    To reach this goal, two more Guild-exempt members of the Post team took bullets: assistant city editor Diane Alters and Jeff Roberts (no relation), a computer-assisted-reporting editor. On top of that, Moore wrote, “we have cut the budgets for travel, syndicates and freelance to achieve substantial savings and will be eliminating a number of part-time positions.” (At least six part-timers, including well-known reporter Jenny Deam, have been told their services are no longer required.) Because of these measures, he went on, “I believe we’re done for now. Other needed savings in the upcoming budget year we hope to get through staff attrition.”

    That doesn’t mean it’s back-to-normal time quite yet, though. Moore, who declined to comment for this column because he hadn’t been able to speak with employees by press time, is in the midst of a major newsroom reorganization that “will involve new duties for a number of people,” he wrote. “We hope to roll it out soon for digestion, reasonable refinements and feedback.”

    These reactions should help determine how the slimmed-down Post steps into the future. Cynics fear that fifty-and-over employees who were eligible for the buyout but decided against signing up will be pushed from comparatively cushy positions into unpleasant ones (hello, night shift) in the hopes that they’ll quit — a move that would save the paper some significant coin. Even if the Post is as sensitive as possible in respect to new assignments, however, some people are apt to be unhappy anyhow. With that in mind, plenty of newsroomers at both the Post and the Rocky Mountain News, which just went through its own buyout drama, are said to be looking at their professional options. Indeed, one of the last projects overseen by Post recruitment boss Carla Kimbrough-Robinson before being let go at the same time as Engdahl and Spencer was (irony alert) a June 1 job-search seminar. The first line of the memo about this event read: “Thinking of making a career transition?”

    Columnist Carman had been. “I’m very worried about the industry and the direction it’s going, and the atmosphere around newspapers all over the country,” she acknowledges. “I thought, if the newspaper business isn’t going to be there for all the years I’d like to work and I’m going to have to start another career, why wait?” But in the end, she continues, “I had to go with my heart and not follow my head.”

    This switch was most likely cheered by her supervisors. Earlier this year, the paper had a whopping four columnists, but the dreadful Cindy Rodriguez decamped for Detroit two months ago, and Spencer became a downsizing victim — meaning that had Carman split, only the usually conservative David Harsanyi would have remained at what’s seen, rightly or wrongly, as an editorially liberal publication. Not that Carman is sticking around to maintain ideological balance. “Trouble is,” she says, “I love my job.”

    Oftentimes this gig requires that Carman try to make sense of complex situations. Still, she’s at a loss when it comes to the events she and her fellow Posters have just experienced.

    You should have taken more business administration and economics classes.

  2. Let’s get real, if we can. What does The Post report? I mean, really. The paper is not controversial, it does not take on any serious topics, such as the lack of health care, immigration, etc., it’s not hard hitting but so bland and PC that it’s a laugh. The point is that newspapers are out of touch with most Americans and that’s why nobody reads them. The Post also has no voice. Have you noticed? It’s so bland, so correct, so careful not to offend; but perhaps it should be a bit more offensive, more risk taking, more aggressive about what it wants to say.

    Your analysis is spot on. The PC/AP style of sterile writing with a one-sided liberal point-of-view have turned newspapers into generic rubbish. Tom Brokow predicts major newspapers will no longer be in print 10 years from now. That has a pretty good ring to it. But the publishers are not going to get the online audience. The Internet has already created much more enjoyable reading. None of the 10 Websites I visit are newspaper sites.

  3. The Denver Post announced the layoffs of six newsroom managers Wednesday as part of a cost-cutting effort.

    Dismissed, effective Friday, were Gary Clark, managing editor of news; Mark Cardwell, managing editor of online news; Erik Strom, assistant managing editor of technology; Ingrid Muller, creative director; Cynthia Pasquale, assistant city editor; and Stephen Keating, online special- projects editor. Keating will continue to work on a project for Post owner MediaNews Group.

    The layoffs come as dozens of newspapers across the country are cutting staffs and budgets to deal with steep declines in advertising and circulation.

    “These departures were forced by budget cuts I have to make,” Post editor Greg Moore said in a memo to staffers. “I think you all know the financial challenges facing this industry and this newspaper.”

    MediaNews Group is negotiating with union-covered Post employees for $2 million in wage and benefit concessions.

    Rocky Mountain News owner E.W. Scripps has put that newspaper up for sale, and may close it, because of mounting financial losses.

    Scripps imposed companywide pay and benefit cuts Wednesday at its newspapers and television stations, although the Rocky Mountain News reported that the cuts will not apply to the News.

    The reductions, announced in an e-mail from Scripps chief executive Rich Boehne, were reported in several Scripps newspapers. Scripps declined to publicly release what it described as an “internal employee memo.”

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