Posts Tagged ‘Media General’

Newspapers cut fewer jobs in 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Paper Cuts, the site that tracks newspaper layoffs, reported far fewer jobs lost at the nation’s papers in 2010 compared to the two previous years, says Fishbowl L.A. Of course, there are far fewer jobs left to be cut.

The industry shed some 2,800 jobs this year –  layoffs and buyouts the site tracks of newspaper personnel “from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper” – compared to about 15,000 in 2009 and 16,000 in 2008. The total does not count jobs lost through attrition, i.e., left unfilled after someone leaves voluntarily.

“But it’s also become more obvious that many papers are laying off employees and never publicly acknowledging it,” Paper Cuts’ Erica Smith told FBLA. “Even with many of those numbers filled in, though, I don’t think the total will hit 2008 or 2009 levels.”

The Paper Cuts site has Google Maps mash-ups that show job cuts at individual papers dating to 2007, including  2010 job cuts at The News & Observer in Raleigh (21; owned by McClatchy), The Winston-Salem Journal  (“unknown”; Media General), the Asheville Citizen-Times (4; Gannett),  the Star News in Wilmington (2; New York Times), NASCAR Scene in Charlotte (18; Advance Publications), the Independent-Tribune of Concord-Kannapolis (“unknown”; Media General), The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. (7; McClatchy), The State of Columbia, S.C. (12; McClatchy), The Greenville (S.C.) News (7; Gannett), and The Morning News of Florence, S.C. (“unknown”; Media General).

Coupon software bypasses design staff

Friday, March 19th, 2010

In another move sure to lead to cost savings through job cuts, Media General has launched software that allows advertisers to create their own coupons and run them in the newspaper.

The program, which debuted at the Richmond Times-Dispatch and could be rolled out to the rest of the chain’s properties this year,  is enabling more small businesses to advertise in the paper, says Newspapers & Technology magazine.

Weekly Clipper is built on the AdLizard self-service ad platform. Users log in and are taken through four steps that allow them to build their coupon using a template or to upload their own ready-made design.

Denise Ballinger, director of self-service and the ad product marketplace for Media General, told News & Tech she “hopes to implement even more of the self-service features AdLizard can provide to allow advertisers to completely manage their own accounts.”

Continued rough sledding ahead for newspapers

Monday, February 15th, 2010

A look at fourth-quarter 2009 financial results from five of the 10 publicly owned U.S. newspaper companies that have reported so far shows that “it’s clear the industry as a whole is still in deep trouble, with no strong indication that better days are ahead,” says a Nieman Journalism Lab report.

The report says that in Q4 2009 the industry “saw its 14th consecutive advertising revenue decline; the last nine of those quarters were double-digit declines.” And nothing indicates that January, typically a bad month for revenue, is looking any better.

The report examines the five publishers individually: Gannett, New York Times Co., Lee Enterprises, Media General and McClatchy Co.

At McClatchy, it finds strong online revenue growth comparatively, but scoffs at CEO Gary Pruitt’s claim that expectations of revenue declines in the low- to mid-teens percentage range in January indicate a recovery. “In other words, McClatchy expects the Q4 decline of 20.5 percent to be followed in Q1 2010 by a decline of somewhat less than 15 percent, and considers that to be an ‘improving advertising trend.'”

In another problem area, “Besides nearly $2 billion in long-term debt, McClatchy also disclosed that at year-end, its pension plans were underfunded by $494 million in the ‘qualified’ plan (their standard defined benefit plan, which is frozen), and another $100 million in the non-qualified supplemental executive-level plan. This accumulation of future obligations makes McClatchy one of the most-leveraged publishers out there.”

Media General employees lose third week of pay

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Media General, owner of the Winston-Salem Journal, The Tampa Tribune and 19 other daily newspapers, told employees Friday they must take off five more unpaid days by the end of the year, according to Editor & Publisher.

The five are in addition to 10 furlough days already assessed, for a total of three weeks of pay that the publisher has withheld from employees this year.

Employees must take one day by the end of September (the end of third quarter), and four during fourth quarter, the report says.

The publisher blames “last-minute advertiser cancellations and deferrals of planned spending” by other advertisers.

In addition to instituting layoffs, pay cuts and wage freezes, McClatchy Co., Gannett and other newspaper publishers have furloughed employees this year to save money.