Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More hard times at New Times

White Angel Breadline, San Francisco (1933) by Dorothea Lange (via artnet.com)
If you have a lunch appointment coming up with Miami New Times editor Chuck Strouse, chances are you'll be picking up the tab...for both lunches.

According to an internal memo written on New Year's Eve by Village Voice Media - New Times parent company - boss Michael Lacey, all "VVM Publishers and Editors are taking 10% pay reductions until our revenues begin to grow again." Apparently that includes Chuck.

Here's the entire memo:
December 31, 2008

To all Village Voice staffers:

It's no secret that the chickens have come home to roost from the George Bush economy of the past eight years. We have all felt the downturn at Village Voice Media operations and, as you know, have been trimming expenses since December of 2007

Unfortunately, this year we have found it necessary to make staff reductions and have placed all staff openings on hold.

We are also going to take these additional measures effective January 1, 2009:

1) All VVM senior managers and officers, including Larkin and Lacey, are taking 15% pay reductions.

2) VVM Publishers and Editors are taking 10% pay reductions until our revenues begin to grow again.

3) We will suspend the Village Voice Media match into our 401-K plan. The plan will still remain open and we urge you to take advantage of the tax deferred personal savings advantages.

We hope that these measures will be the last steps we have to take until our business improves, however will continue to be watchful as 2009 progresses.

We believe in our local publishing and local digital businesses. It is our conclusion that the downturn in weekly publishing is largely cyclical and that as daily newspapers continue their decline, we will have numerous publishing opportunities in the markets we serve.

Many of you know that Village Voice Media digital businesses are growing and expanding quickly. As this current economic nightmare ends, Village Voice Media will be well positioned for the future in both digital and print.

We have navigated tough times before and although this seems the roughest stretch we've ever seen, we are confident that the content Village Voice Media operations produce and market daily will carry the day in whatever format the future might serve, print or digital.

We appreciate the effort each of you make to insure our success every day. Should you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact your publisher or either of us below.

Thank you,

Jim Larkin

Michael Lacey
Chances are you won't be reading about this in the pages of New Times.

They've been pretty much close-mouthed on VVM's financial woes.

Broward New Times media watchdog Bob Norman finally got around to writing about the subject last week some 48 hours after my first post on the subject.

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