The Baltimore Sun’s John McIntyre, in his You Don’t Say blog, nails the “shabby expedient” being practiced by McClatchy newspapers in its dismantling of the copy desk at The News & Observer in Raleigh in favor of a production center in Charlotte.
Posts Tagged ‘The News & Observer’
Andy Bechtel, a copy editor who teaches at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill and writes The Editor’s Desk blog, offers a tribute to N&O copy editors and designers, whose jobs were eliminated in favor a production center in Charlotte this week (see the post below).
“I am sad for my former colleagues, and I worry about the quality of the newspaper that I still read every day,” he writes. “I am also angry that hard-working journalists must bear the brunt of McClatchy’s debt and business decisions.”
Among the many Facebook comments he posts, surely from a reporter: “Who’ll save my ass now?”
Update: Not 24 hours after telling his copy editors and designers their jobs were being eliminated, N&O Senior VP/Executive Editor John Drescher set the weekly staff meeting for hours before designers and copy editors come in for the day. Looks like they’re not his problem any more.
at 2 pm in the McDaniels conference room.
And, from The N&O’s Afternoon Update today, why copy editors are important:
|Thousands of marijuana plants discovered in Chatham|
|Authorities discovered 1,784 marijuana plants growing in southern Chatham County on June 1, the sheriff’s office said.
Updated Jun. 7, 2011 8:21 AM | Full Story
Managers at the The News & Observer in Raleigh told about 25 copy editors and page designers on Monday that their jobs were being transferred to a new production hub at the Charlotte Observer. The move is to start over the summer and be fully in effect by mid-September.
The Charlotte production center will produce The N&O and its 10 community papers, including The Chapel Hill News, The Cary News and The Herald in Smithfield. The Charlotte copy desk already prepares The Herald of nearby Rock Hill, S.C.
Look for McClatchy’s South Carolina papers, including The State in Columbia and the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, to eventually be added to the Charlotte production hub, though their managers are waging the same futile fight against it that The N&O’s management lost.
N&O employees will be able to move to positions in Charlotte and get a $5,000 relocation stipend plus one week’s pay per year worked with The N&O, up to 13 weeks.
Some Raleigh copy desk managers will lose their supervisory duties and take pay cuts as Charlotte takes over, and others at the top of their pay ranges may see their pay cut or frozen, a company memo says. Pay cuts are not to exceed 10 percent and would come at the end of the year.
Those who don’t want to move will get the standard severance package of two week’s pay per year worked up to 26 weeks and COBRA insurance assistance. All Charlotte copy desk employees are being offered buyouts with the same deal.
Many of the copy editors and designers now in Raleigh are veteran workers (because most of the young workers have been laid off already) with ties to the community and are not expected to move. This will allow McClatchy to hire new and younger designers and copy editors for less money or make do with fewer.
The move is another attempt to bail water instead of repairing the ship. McClatchy is incrementally merging the Charlotte and Raleigh papers, having already merged the Sports and Features departments and the Capital bureau in Raleigh, but hasn’t shown what it will take to make the big, final, inevitable move.
Most positions are being physically moved toward Charlotte instead of to the state capital because the Charlotte office building inherited when McClatchy bought the paper from Knight Ridder is vastly superior to the dingy offices of The N&O in Raleigh. And because Charlotte managers continuously prevail in negotiations with N&O brass.
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.
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.
Folks in McClatchy Company advertising departments can look forward to time lost in training sessions as the whole company moves its advertising and accounts receivable system off-shore to a hosted system for managing the booking, billing and placement of all print and digital ads.
The newspaper publisher’s “major managed services contract” is with Atex, an integrated content management and advertising solutions firm headquartered in Reading, Berkshire, in the United Kingdom.
The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., will be the first of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers to use the hosted software in a project to be completed this fall, News & Tech said.
McClatchy staffers will eventually manage all order entry, financial accounting, customer relationship management, ad layout and classified pagination from a single database.
Adoption of the new system is to standardize advertising workflows and establish common processes across newspapers and other publications to reduce operating costs, streamline advertising processes, and enhance revenue potential with targeted print and digital ad packages, the companies say in a news release.
The McClatchy system will be hosted at an Atex SAS-70 approved data center to lower costs and consolidate IT infrastructure, the release says.
“[T]he dynamic in the broader Raleigh, N.C., market is remarkable,” MediaPost’s TV Watch blog said today. “Capitol Broadcasting Co.’s site for CBS affiliate WRAL-TV has greater Web traffic than the local News & Observer, which emphasized the Web at a considerable level before many other papers.”
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves told investors on Monday, “We think we can replace the Yellow Pages, replace the newspaper. … [W]hen you get up in the morning, you should be able to turn on that local CBS website and get everything you would need — everything that would be provided by your newspaper.”
Newspapers got a head start on the Web because it’s easy to post text and photos. But video, which CBS outlets have plenty of, is the key going forward, the blog says. People are “less willing to read lengthy articles. They’re hungry for info chunks. …
“On Thursday, WRAL.com was streaming a murder trial live [the trial of Brad Cooper of Cary for killing his wife]. And a site visitor’s attention was immediately drawn to the one-click opportunity to get inside the courtroom. On the News & Observer site, there was a story about the case that took some scrolling to find. Pretty telling?”
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.
The Huffington Post sees into McClatchy’s future in North Carolina:
“The Charlotte News & Observer notes a rather significant point of contention regarding Brown’s connection of HIV/AIDS victims to the gay community.”
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).