Archive for December 7th, 2009

McClatchy lifts employee wage freeze

Monday, December 7th, 2009

McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt told employees in an e-mail Monday that “I’m happy to share some good news with all of you today. Beginning in 2010, we will lift the companywide wage freeze.”

McClatchy froze salaries in August 2008 and over the next 14 months instituted furloughs and layoffs companywide, including two dozen more announced in Miami just last week.

“Over the last several months,” Pruitt wrote,  “McClatchy’s earnings reports have shown improving trends. … Still, we are suffering ongoing revenue declines and we must continue to carefully manage our expenses.

“It’s difficult to forecast exactly what 2010 may bring and what additional expense cuts may be necessary. What I can tell you is that we’d like to reward our employees for helping us manage through these challenging times by lifting the wage freeze.”

The various McClatchy newspapers will provide raises at different times and amounts “based upon the financial performance and challenges at each individual paper,” he said, adding that local management would have further information.

Here’s the text of the new memo:

DATE: Dec. 7, 2009
TO: All McClatchy Employees
FROM: Gary Pruitt

SUBJECT: Wage Freeze

I’m happy to share some good news with all of you today. Beginning in 2010, we will lift the companywide wage freeze.

There may be some differences in the timing of the reinstatement of merit increases at the various McClatchy papers, based upon the financial performance and challenges at each individual paper. More information will follow from your publisher and local management about the timing, but everyone will be treated fairly within his or her newspaper. In most cases, salary review dates will be adjusted forward by the number of months the wage freeze was extended beyond September 2009. For those employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement, merit increases are subject to the terms of the agreement and will be reviewed with your union leadership.

I want to spend a moment explaining this decision to all of you. I understand that there are many mixed messages about the state of the industry and McClatchy’s overall health. Over the last several months, McClatchy’s earnings reports have shown improving trends. Let me assure you, we are successfully navigating through these difficult economic times. Still, we are suffering ongoing revenue declines and we must continue to carefully manage our expenses.

It’s difficult to forecast exactly what 2010 may bring and what additional expense cuts may be necessary. What I can tell you is that we’d like to reward our employees for helping us manage through these challenging times by lifting the wage freeze. We recognize the many sacrifices you have made over the last few years and understand that cost-of-living expenses continue to rise, including the cost of health care.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to recognize your efforts on behalf of McClatchy. Our company could not be successful without the continuing dedication and hard work of our employees. Thank you.

McClatchy, C.S. Monitor to share Baghdad bureau

Monday, December 7th, 2009

McClatchy will operate foreign bureaus next year in Beijing, Cairo, Kabul, Mexico City and in Baghdad, where the publisher will share staffing and expenses with The Christian Science Monitor, says a memo from John Walcott, Washington bureau chief, to McClatchy editors that is posted by Romenesko.

McClatchy and the Monitor “will rotate reporters through the Baghdad bureau, and we’ll share the costs of housing, local staff, in-country transportation, etc.,” the memo says.

Tom Lasseter is moving from Moscow to Beijing to staff a bureau that’s been vacant for more than a year now, and former Beijing bureau chief Tim Johnson will reopen McClatchy’s vacant Mexico City bureau, probably in March.

Dallas paper’s new supervisors not in charge

Monday, December 7th, 2009

James Moroney III, publisher of the Dallas Morning News, has written another memo to  his staff explaining last week’s announcement that some editors will report to advertising sales managers who are now called “general managers,” Editor & Publisher says.

The new structure does not change the newsroom’s control of content, Moroney says.

E&P reports this morning: “Let’s be clear: In this company, the editors make the final decisions about all content we publish, up and until a dispute were to reach my office via the company’s highest-ranking editor, Bob Mong,” Moroney wrote in the memo delivered late Friday to staffers. “That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it is, and will be. The new organizational structure does not change this fact. We believe the new structure will help us launch new products that serve readers and advertisers better. But as we decide upon editorial content, we will always put our readers first.”

E&P has the full 751-word memo – at least the third attempt by the News’ management to explain the move – at the first link above.

‘Local, local, local’ new publishers’ mantra

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Crain’s is citing Manhattan Media as a prime example of how hyperlocal publishing is defying trends that are destroying much of the newspaper industry.

The company, which publishes more than a dozen narrowly focused publications and companion Web sites, has grown to become New York’s largest independent owner of community publications.

Publications include local giveaway weeklies Our Town and The West Side Spirit, tiny subscription papers Chelsea Clinton News and The Westsider, the twice-monthly City Hall, the downtown-oriented New York Press and the glossy Upper East Side society organ Avenue.

“Revenue has grown fivefold since 2002, according to executives at the privately held company,” Crain’s says. “What’s more, advertising revenue for the newspapers is up this year over last.”

Why copy editors … once again

Monday, December 7th, 2009

John McIntyre, on his You Don’t Say blog, provides evidence from The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. that fewer copy editors means more mistakes and less clarity.