Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Star’

Sinking McClatchy tosses people overboard

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

McClatchy newspapers continue to spiral downward, this week announcing a new round of job elimination, including 20 positions at The News & Observer in Raleigh, “about two dozen” at the Kansas City Star, about 50 — including 35 vacant positions — at the Miami Herald, and eight at the Bellingham Herald in Washington.

Jobs will be eliminated through a combination of buyouts, layoffs and open positions left vacant. At The N&O, reportedly, a 50-year veteran of the Business office is among those being laid off.

The company is also closing two suburban papers in Kansas City and one in Missouri.

And, the company announced Tuesday that its employee stock purchase program is ending because of lack of participation. Fewer than 5 percent of eligible employees are buying stock, which is available at a discounted price through the program, Heather Fagundes, vice president, Human Resources, said in a memo to employees.

McClatchy stock closed at $2.83 Tuesday. It once sold for $77 and, at one point, for as little as 35 cents a share.

McClatchy announced last month that it  lost $1.96 million in the first quarter of the year on an 11 percent drop in advertising revenue.

Elsewhere, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said today that U.S. employers had announced plans to cut 12 percent fewer jobs in April than they had in March.

McClatchy layoffs continue

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The McClatchy Co. is announcing more of its ongoing layoffs at several papers this week, including 32 jobs cut at the Sacramento Bee, 20 at the Charlotte Observer and 20 at the Kansas City Star.

The firm’s News & Observer in Raleigh announced last week that 20 positions would be cut, and the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., announced the loss of six positions.

The papers are also requiring unpaid one-week furloughs for most employees.

McClatchy is to announce 4th quarter 2010 earnings next Tuesday.

Market analyst: newspapers going down

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Don’t let recent good news from newspaper publishers fool you, the stock market analysis website Seeking Alpha warns. The industry is dying.

The site keys on the relatively rosy picture pushed by McClatchy last month, saying “publishers across the board got a big boost when The McClatchy Company announced that its advertising revenue rose during the fourth quarter. What’s more, CEO Gary Pruitt said he expects these improvements to continue this year.

“As the third-largest newspaper publishing company in the United States, McClatchy’s news caused some bullish activity in the industry. But the fact remains that we’re talking about newspapers here. So even though McClatchy publishes more than 70 of them – including The Miami Herald and The Charlotte Observer – they’re still just … well, newspapers.”

And, in fact, since the first of the year, McClatchy’s Kansas City Star has announced layoffs, while at  The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., buyouts have been mentioned by management amid rumors of furloughs and layoffs. At Gannett, one-week furloughs in the first quarter are already policy at most of its papers, while some of its papers in New Jersey face much more drastic measures.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post said this week it returned to profitability in 2010 and expected to remain profitable in 2011.

Seeking Alpha leads the reader through the familiar decline of newspapers, concluding that “a daily paper simply can’t compete with the up-to-the-second Internet in terms of news. Plus, there’s the added incentive that the Internet is free, leaving publishers scrambling to find a way to successfully monetize their online product.”

Online advertising revenue presents a glimmer of hope,  including a 13.9 percent gain in the second quarter of 2010 – the first quarterly gain since 2008, and a rise in McClatchy’s online revenue for the quarter that boosted its stock price.

“But even if this trend continues, it’s still not enough to combat the rapid decline of printed ad revenue,” Seeking Alpha says. “The numbers have been in a freefall for 14 consecutive quarters … with no end in sight.

“The bottom line is that newspaper publishers are going down. They won’t all bite the dust, of course. But it will take a few more years of closings, mergers and tinkering with online advertising before the real winners emerge. So don’t let McClatchy’s bounce fool you – this is one industry to dodge.”

A win for newspapers in Kansas City

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Bottom Line Communications, which follows media and marketing issue in the Kansas City area, says a local supermarket chain that left the Kansas City Star for direct mail marketing is taking its advertising back to the newspaper.

The chain, Hen House, has 29 stores in the area.

The KC Star is a McClatchy newspaper, and we saw this first at McClatchy Watch.

How newspapers are – and aren’t – diversifying

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Media critic Alan Mutter uses a McClatchy newspaper as the negative example in a post on his Newsosaur blog about how large newspaper publishers are diversifying to survive in the new media world.

“While papers like the Kansas City Star continue to pursue the traditional model of publishing only the main title and a free once-a-week advertising product sent to the homes of non-subscribers, the ABC [Audit Bureau of Circulations] reports that papers like the Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News have created such a wide variety of products that the flagship paper produces just 56 percent of the average weekday circulation in each of their respective markets,” Mutter writes.

As circulations fall, “foresighted publishers are creating niche products to try to capture readers who historically were unlikely to buy the legacy newspaper – and, of course, the advertisers who covet them as customers,” he adds.

The Tribune and Morning News both publish periodicals aimed at young adults and those who prefer to read Spanish-language publications. The Tribune also publishes a free tabloid written by and for teenagers, and the Morning News delivers a free, weekly TMC, or total-market-coverage, advertising product, like many McClatchy papers produce.

Mutter predicts that the once flagship, general interest newspaper will eventually become simply one product among several niche publications that successful publishers produce.

Gary Pruitt lies to stockholders

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Gary Pruitt, at McClatchy’s shareholders meeting Wednesday, boasted of “McClatchy’s unwavering commitment to public service journalism” and vowed that the publishing company would continue to “provide relevant, high quality journalism.”

Anyone who reads a McClatchy newspaper knows the quality of the journalism has declined precipitously as the company has cut positions, and anyone who works for, or has worked for, McClatchy knows that its management is committed only to the bottom line — money.

Pruitt bases his claim of ongoing quality on national recognition of the work of three McClatchy papers: The Kansas City Star winning the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat winning the George Polk Award and the McClatchy Washington Bureau being named as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for national reporting. But this work, and other solid reporting at McClatchy newspapers, is the work of local journalists who remain dedicated to their profession, not McClatchy. Pruitt gloms onto their efforts while he has eliminated the jobs of about a third of their colleagues and makes plans to eliminate more.

Perhaps the job cuts were inevitable given the economy and the changes in the newspaper industry. But to maintain that they have not adversely affected the quality of the newspapers is simply a lie and an insult to those whose lives have been disrupted by these layoffs.

Pruitt is every bit as despicable as the CEOs of BP, Wall Street banks, Big Tobacco and other industries who care solely about profits and don’t give a thought about who they use or hurt along the way.