Chronicle to purge 150 starting April 1 — A cruel April fools joke?

The SF Chronicle’s carbon footprint is getting smaller, about 150 people smaller.  Some may feel a little foolish now about turning off their lights for Earth Hour, especially when they learn that Al Gore kept the lights on in his 9,000 sq ft mansion. California’s power use didn’t budge. It was a dim idea. 

Back to the lights out on newspapers top heavy with executive editors: 

“Until the current newspaper crisis, you rarely heard politicians or activists bleating about how important newspapers were to self-government. They mostly bitched about what awful failures newspapers were at uncovering vital data. The only group that holds a consistently high opinion of newspapers is newspaper people,” Jack Shafer.

He cites a recent Pew study that shows most people don’t care if their local newspaper folds, and he says they have a point — few of the stories printed every day “are likely to supercharge the democratic impulse,” and even the ones that do, generally fail to spur voters to do anything.

 

Slate‘s Shafer laughs at the high-minded talk of the critical role newspapers play in a democracy, declaring, “I can imagine citizens acquiring sufficient information to vote or poke their legislators with pitchforks even if all the newspapers in the country fell into a bottomless recycling bin tomorrow.”

Shafer shows that some of the people arguing for the importance of newspapers — academics and liberal activists — have shown little love for them in the past.

CHRONICLE UNIT BULLETIN — It’s official!

More than 80 Chronicle staff members took the severance deal on March 31, 2009. The overall number will be 150 in the next two weeks. Is anyone keeping a talley? Has it been 500 cuts the last four years? That’s my estimate.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of the large number of employees volunteering for termination during The SF Chronicle’s voluntary termination period, the WARN Act provisions requiring 60 days advance notice of involuntary layoffs is not valid. That means that after April 1, another 80 will be given their walking papers.

The company would have no legal need to give the 60-day notice provided for under the WARN Act.

Some members have said that they would not apply for the voluntary termination package and would, instead, wait for the layoff in order to get 60 days notice and the additional pay involved. Given the current situation, however, the Guild advises against taking this course of action because it appears there is a good possibility that the 60 days additional notice with pay won’t materialize. Remember that after April 3, 2009 no member regardless of age can receive the Supplemental Pension Benefit as a lump sum and all will have to take it as a monthly annuity. So if the Supplemental Pension Benefit as a lump sum from the Guild Pension Plan is important to you, and if the 60 days notice you were counting on is no longer a solid possibility, and you are certain you want to leave The Chronicle, we suggest that you should strongly consider volunteering to terminate your employment by the 5 p.m. March 31 deadline.

So, if another 50 or more rush to get your modest buyouts. The remainder who wait very well could end up with an extra 60 days pay.  Not a bad bet. And there are still 60 days of skiing at Heavenly and Squaw Valley.

 “Until the current newspaper crisis, you rarely heard politicians or activists bleating about how important newspapers were to self-government. They mostly bitched about what awful failures newspapers were at uncovering vital data. The only group that holds a consistently high opinion of newspapers is newspaper people,” Jack Shafer.

 Names of Chronicle staff taking the buyouts are piling up like winos in front of the Salvation Army food kitchen.   

Some of the paper’s veteran reporters and biggest names are leaving. It looks like music, books and arts coverage will be hit hard, as well as the photo department.

 Here are the names so far:

 Joel Selvin, who has covered the rock and roll scene for 30 years or so.

 Carl Hall, a longtime science reporter currently on leave.

 Tom Meyer, editorial cartoonist.

 Zachary Coile, a long-time reporter in the Washington D.C. bureau.

 Nancy Gay, who covers 49ers football and other major league teams. 

Three of the papers top culture writers are departing, including:

 Jesse Hamlin, Edward Guthmann, and Heidi Benson. They frequently profile authors, actors, and musicians.

Sabin Russell, who has covered science for decades.

Alison Biggar, the long-time editor of the Chronicle Magazine.

Sylvia Rubin, who covers fashion.

Bernadette Tansey, a biotech reporter. (She has been writing a new feature each Sunday that I love, a round-up of books on a particular business topic, but done in a very clever way.)

The photography department will take a big hit as six photographers, including Pulitzer-Prize winner Kim Komenich, are departing. The others include Michael Maloney, Craig Lee, Eric Luse, Mark Costatini and Kurt Rogers, a sports photographer

Other departures include:

Kevin Albert, editorial assistant

Greg Ambrose, copy editor

Charles Burress (who has covered Berkeley for years.)

Peter Cafone, sports copy editor

Ken Costa, graphic designer

Elizabeth Hughes, copy editor
Leslie Innes, Datebook editor
Timothy Innes, foreign news wire editor
Rod Jones, copy editor, news
Eric Jungerman, designer
Kathy Kerrihard, library researcher
Simar Khanna, editor of Home and Garden section

Even lower level employees are taking the bum’s rush:

Bonnie Lemons, copy editor, news
Glenn Mayeda, editorial assistant, sports
Johnny Miller, library researcher
Dan Giesin, sports night copy editor
Janice Greene, editorial assistant on the op-ed page
Shirley-Anne Owden, copy editor, features
Courtenay Peddle, copy editor, news
Lee Sims, copy editor, news
Michelle Smith, a sports reporter who covers women’s basketball
Patricia Yollin, metro reporter

There are many, many more. Please post what you know on comments.

 So the list will grow longer. Hearst wanted to lay off as many as 225 workers, (and threatened to shutter the paper) but backed off after the Newspaper Guild agreed to cuts in vacation time and seniority rules.

I wonder how these soon to be retired professionals feel now about their liberal politics, the kind that use their taxes to pay for the Mayor Gavin Newsom to fly off to Davos, Paris and London to mingle with the rich and powerful world leaders, while the “good people” work 50-hour weeks and pay nearly 50 percent of their wages in tax?

This is a profile of journalists in Gawker:

“While journalists might continue to forge forward despite workload, deadlines and salary issues, they will not stand by as the foundation of journalism crumbles beneath them. At that point, they will quit,” the study concludes. Hey! Anyone want to start a rock band or a truffle farm with me? Clips not required.



 

Major city newspapers will go nonprofit to keep influence

Major cities such as San Francisco, Washington D.C., LA, Chicago, New York, Houston and Philadelphia may convert the serviving newspapers into nonprofits to keep their political and philanthropic status. 

The San Francisco Chronicle will be the first to test the entity. 

San Francisco investment banker Warren Hellman and other prominent SF  lawyers and investors made an informal proposal  last week to Hearst, owners of the San Francisco Chronicle about helping the troubled daily paper become a nonprofit, San Francisco attorney Bill Coblentz told the SF Business Times.

Hellman and Coblentz discussed the idea, then Coblentz conveyed it to former San Francisco Examiner editor and publisher William R. Hearst III, who is a Hearst Corp. director and an affiliated partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. William is one of the working Hearsts who lives in the Bay Area and keeps touch with The Chronicle on a daily basis. It’s unofficially the Hearst flagship, though in money making ability, their Houston Chronicle is by far the financial headquarters. 

“What happened after that, I don’t know,” said Coblentz, who is out of town.

The proposal would be for a nonprofit corporation “to take over the Chronicle,” with Hearst Corp. continuing to provide some philanthropic support, Coblentz said. Details remain sketchy. It’s unclear if the proposal is being seriously considered.

 

Editorial-wise they are already PBS in print, aren’t they? 

 

Gannett is building the model of the profitable newspaper

A new bold initiative is about to unfold in Detroit. Overnight, profitability will be restored to the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and the joint operating agency that serves them, the experiment in non-daily home delivery could be common practice in the next two years.

Desperate times create desperate measures. The new model even cuts down on newspapers’ carbon footprint.

There is a widely reported plan that the Detroit dailies will restrict home delivery to Thursday and Sunday and perhaps one other day of the week. While papers on the other days of the week presumably would be available for single-copy purchase in busy downtown and suburban shopping centers, the rough draft of this plan is that the subscribers to  the Thursday and Sunday  newspapers would get full access to the news online.  

Gannett owns the Free Press, which is reported by the Gannett Blog to be preparing to eliminate 300 jobs. MediaNews Group, (Singleton) which in part is financed by Gannett, owns the News. 

Let’s face it, newspapers should not be printed and delivered each day. What a waste of energy.

Buyouts, layoffs, big declines in readership and ads — it is a bleak Christmas for newspapers

The decline of the newspaper media monopoly never slows. If you have any stock in newspaper-heavy media, it’s too late to get out. As of the end of 2008, 30 daily newspapers are for sale. Buyouts were the good old days. Now there are brutal Christmans-time layoffs. Google the Gannett Blog and find a running count by an ex-Gannetter. 

The layoffs and firings that started this week at newspapers owned by Gannett, including at the flagship USA Today, have been especially ruthless,  in addition to being timed just weeks before Christmas, they number in the thousdands.  But why not? These are mainly socialists and athiests who mock families and call moms breeders. 

It’s bloody news for newspaper journalists. Even the sill profitable Gannett newspapers (many still have profit margins at 20 percent) are shedding employees at a breathtaking rate. 

This week  a Gannett spokesperson said the cuts are being managed locally, at each newspaper, which is why as a company they’ve not released figures on specific jobs other than to say it’s a 10 percent cut companywide. While early figures compiled paper-by-paper totaled 1,700 Gannett jobs cut, it looks like that number may well pass 2,000 by next week.

In just the past week several thousand newspaper employees in America have lost their jobs, Cox Newspapers announced the closing of their Washington, DC, bureau, and the Tribune Co. will lay off more people at their flagship paper in Chicago.

In Chicago the credit analyst Fitch Ratings predicted that the continued decline in advertising revenues will cause some newspapers to default on their debt in 2009, and rated the debt of two huge newspaper companies – The McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co. – ask “junk.” Fitch also predicted that several cities could find themselves without daily print newspapers by 2010.

As many as 1,700 Gannett jobs were cut this week, from assistant managing editors on down, including reductions of up to 31 percent of the staff at one newspaper, The Salinas Californian, according to a reader tally on a blog published by a former Gannett worker, Jim Hopkins.

 

The most recent E&P (an online Web site on newspapers that ironically ended its print edtions a decade ago) reports that recruitment advertising declined in May. The Newspaper Conference Board, which measures job ads in 51 print newspapers across the country, said its Help-Wanted Advertising Index is 33. It was 38 one year ago.

“This is certainly a more negative picture going into the second half of the year, compared to the beginning of the year,” Ken Goldstein, a labor economist at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising fell in all nine U.S. regions.

 


The Dallas Morning News (a monopoly) said today it’s going to offer buyouts to the newsroom. That means waving a modest proposal of a few extra weeks of severance pay in front of the noses of older employees. Reality check: the UAW buyouts give auto workers 90 percent of their pay and free health care for life.

 

I was walking my dog this morning at 5:30 a.m. and watched a newspaper carrier in a junk car speeding around my neighborhood to drop a paper at every 20th house or so. Just a few years ago, 40 percent of the homes subscribed to the paper. 

Imagine the carbon footprint of that old smokestack medium. 


Who wrote Dreams From My Father? Not Obama but William Ayers?

The evidence of a close kinship between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers is coming out in the open on blogs, talk shows and in magazines. The mainstream media is hoping it will all be “noise” with no consequences. After all, the election is in the bag for Obama with only three weeks left.

Jack Cashill has written a story in American Thinker about the timing and evidence of a ghost writer who may have written Dreams From My Father — the book that put Obama on the national stage.

Time Magazine called Dreams … “the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician.”

But Obama had not really written anything up until that. So, did he use a ghost writer? The evidence is there, it is very professional and has a wonderful style. So why doesn’t he name the ghost writer? Or why doesn’t the great writer come forward and say “It was all Obama, I just zipped it up a little.”

Greta Van Sustren is said to be about to break this story.

Come on, this is your time to get some credit. Call yourself just an editor. But let us know who you are?

Wait a minute, what if the ghost writer is Bill Ayres? That would show that Obama is a fabricated man, built by the life-long socialist Ayres.

This is the October surprise.

The Washington Post and New York Times preach affirmative action for every other organization, but they don’t practice it

The New York Times is a daily promotional newsletter for the elite liberals and Democrat party. The  high paying positions are filled by family members and friends from the inner circle of the Democrat party.  A former speech writer for Bill Clinton rejected an Op-Ed letter from John McCain, while printing Obama’s letter in full the week before.

Take a look at the CEO, publisher and executive editor positions at the New York Times. It’s all in the family. And one of the biggest jokes on Wall Street, their stock is like the Democrat’s super delegates, the Sulzberger family has voting rights while all the other stockholders do not. That assures that Pinch Sulzberger stays highly paid as CEO and publisher of the crumbling empire. Pinchy gets to travel to Devos, Switzerland to discuss economic issues on the non-voting stock holders’ dime. (Devos is one of the most expensive resorts in the world).

Why isn’t the NYT practicing affirmative action? Appoint Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton as publisher or at least on the board of directors.  Practice what you preach, affirmative action where it counts.

“We are delighted that these two exceptional individuals have agreed to be nominees for election by our shareholders,” the company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., said in a press release sday announcing the news. “The skills, expertise and leadership qualities of these two nominees will greatly benefit our Company during this time of tremendous change in the media world.”
One new director,  Dawn Lepore, served as a director of Wal-Mart from 2001 to 2004. While Ms. Lepore was serving as a Wal-Mart director, along side Hillary Clinton, the Times was denouncing Wal-Mart for a series of supposed sins.  The other  director is from “Big Oil.” Google it if you don’t believe me.

 The Washington Post created a media group and a high paying job for family member Katharine Weymouth, part of the Graham family. Weymouth is the niece of CEO Donald Graham.

A new generation of the Graham family  is taking a lead role. Katharine Weymouth, niece of chairman and CEO Donald Graham, has been appointed CEO of Washington Post Media, a new unit that includes the paper and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. This should bring the business sides closer together, perhaps even integrating them, but the newsrooms will remain distinct.

She also becomes the fifth member of the Graham family to serve as publisher, returning the family to that post as she succeeds Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr.; he is now vice chairman of the company and chairman of the Washington Post (NYSE: WPO).

The Washington Post is actually getting some heat for its elite liberal act.

Washington Post Metro reporter Robert Pierre  said it’s “unconscionable” that the paper would devote a year and 12 chapters to the murder of a white woman — Chandra Levy — when around 200 people per year are murdered in DC — most of them black males. “I personally hope that people march on the paper and throw the papers back,” he says. “It is absolutely absurd and dare I say, racist, at its core.”

New Yorker cover draws fire

Mick Gregory

The cover shows Michelle Obama giving Barack (who is dressed in Muslim jihadist garb) a terrorist “fist-pump” similar to the SLA. The American flag is buring in the fireplace and there is a portrait of Osama bin Laden on the wall.

Blasphemy. Kill the cartoonist! This is an insult to the Democrat party and Islam!

An insult to Obama!

An insult to Obama!

How many nasty covers made fun of Bush, Cheney, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich and Dan Quale? Plenty. But that is to be expected.

The New Yorker cartoonist and editors are laughing at all the attention the elite, liberal, well-written, (but poorly read) weekly magazine is getting. The joke is, that’s what they think Republicans think of Obama.

Not quite, we think of him as a “progressive” socialist selling the same old FDR, LBJ, quasi-communist, class warfare propaganda. He’s a Chicago ward politician with less than 150 days of experience as a U.S. Senator.