Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Herald publisher to staff; the firing squad is not quite ready


UPDATED @ 7:00pm A Herald staffer emails Random Pixels to say that Landsberg's memo on staff cuts "could be tomorrow [Wednesday]...so I hear."

So there you are yesterday, sitting at your desk at One Herald Plaza, sipping a cup of coffee.

You come in early at 7am because you like the solitude. It gives you time to check your email and read the paper without distractions.

You look up from your computer for a second or two to marvel at the splendor of a new day that's punctuated by the first rays of an early morning sun. The empty fifth floor newsroom is awash in chiaroscuro tones.

Suddenly you're jolted back to reality by a beep that alerts you to an incoming email.

Is this the one that you and your colleagues have been waiting for? The one that will tell you whether or not you'll have a job next week.

You've put things on hold because of the uncertainty; vacation plans, your daughter's wedding, repairs to the house.

While rumors swirled and news of staff reductions and pay cuts at other McClatchy papers crossed the wires; you and the other staffers heard nothing but silence from publisher David Landsberg.

Herald publisher David Landsberg

But here it is, an email from Landsberg.

Is it time to start packing the past 30 years into cardboard file boxes? Or have you escaped once again?
From: Landsberg, David - Miami
Sent: Mon 3/9/2009 8:25 AM
To: .MIA All Herald Users
Subject: McClatchy Announcement
To: All Employees
From: David Landsberg, Publisher
Subject: Expense Reductions
Date: March 9, 2009

On Feb. 5, McClatchy announced plans to further reduce operating expenses as a result of the ongoing and unprecedented economic pressures and revenue declines. Today, McClatchy released additional information about these expense reductions. The press release is available on McClatchy's corporate website.

Here at the Miami Herald Media Company, we have already shared the news about advertising losses that are greater than any of us have ever seen in our history. As the economy continues to decline, so have our revenues.

We know you are anxiously awaiting the details of our expense reduction plans to offset these losses, but the plans aren't quite final. We assure you we are working as quickly as possible to finish this work. We understand how unsettling the last several weeks have been and how announcements by other McClatchy papers increase concerns about the future.

We apologize for the delay but want to make sure we carefully review every option before making final decisions. We anticipate communicating these decisions to you by the end of the week.

Our future success is dependent on the hard work you do every day. We know these repeated announcements and ongoing restructuring are disruptive, but we respectfully ask for your continued focus, even in these difficult circumstances.

Please contact your department manager or human resources if you have any

Thanks, David.
That's what Herald staffers saw yesterday as they checked their email.

A cynical memo that offered no news, except to say "just wait until Friday!"

And a memo that was peppered with corporate double-speak.

Landsberg can't even bring himself to use the words "job cuts." He calls them "expense reductions."

But he saves the best for last: "Our future success is dependent on the hard work you do every day."

After his next email, which will probably be sent out this Friday, there will be about 50 less people to do that hard work.

That's what I'm hearing. Fifty cuts in a newsroom that's already down to about 240 according to my sources.

No one knows what's going to happen Friday.

But one thing is certain.

David Landsberg will still have a job at the end of the day Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Terrible news. From what I've heard, this round of cuts is taking aim at management, which has been spared in the previous rounds.


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