|Miami Herald Publisher David Landsberg.|
Miami Herald publisher David Landsberg sent this email to newsroom staffers on Thursday.
From: Landsberg, David
Date: Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 4:46 PM
Subject: 2nd Half Furlough
To: MIA All Herald Users
To all Herald staff:
Today we are announcing a one-week furlough program for most full-time employees who work a regularly scheduled 40-hour week, including all executives and senior managers.
Details about the program can be accessed by clicking on this linkto HR Forms on HeraldHub. Employees will have until December 29, 2013 to complete their furloughs. Each division will manage its own process for sign-up and scheduling furloughs.
While we continue to make a profit, we are still experiencing year-to-year revenue losses. We are committed to generating new sources of revenue and new products to help bridge some of the losses. We know this is a hardship for everyone, and want to thank you for your continued understanding and hard work.
Landsberg has lots of experience writing these emails announcing furloughs. He's been sending out two a year since 2009....just like clockwork.
But it appears he's running out of ways to say essentially the same thing.
Thursday, he wrote: "While we continue to make a profit, we are still experiencing year-to-year revenue losses. We are committed to generating new sources of revenue and new products to help bridge some of the losses." Translation: "We're making money, but it's not enough. "
Last January, this was his spin: "Please know that we are seeing some positive results in our new revenue initiatives despite the uneven economic environment."
In a January 25, 2012 email, Landsberg wrote, "We remain committed to generating new sources of revenue and new ideas to help offset the difficult economic environment."
And in an August, 2011 email to his staff, Landsberg wrote: "the company’s efforts to develop new revenue streams aren’t enough to offset prolonged revenue declines."
By now, Herald staffers are used to getting these kinds of emails. The company first instituted the furlough program in March, 2009... at the same time it cut 19% of its workforce.
The recurring theme in Landsberg's twice-yearly emails is the line where he talks about "generating new sources of revenue and new ideas."
Presumably, one of those "new ideas" is the not-so-new concept of a newsroom that runs 24/7.
Last November, when Landsberg announced that the Herald would be erecting a paywall on its website, he wrote, "We have transformed our business to become 24/7 information specialists."
Of course, saying you have a 24/7 news operation and actually having a 24/7 news operation are two entirely different things. (Copying and pasting information from TV station websites doesn't mean you have a "24/7 news operation.)
So, for the foreseeable future, it appears that furloughs are a permanent part of life at the Herald.
But when you're running an alleged 24/7 news operation, forcing the people who gather the news to take unpaid days off doesn't seem all that innovative.
As one of this blog's readers pointed out a year and half ago, "Laying off reporters to save money makes as much sense as an airline cutting the engines off of a jet to save fuel."
Related: Miami Herald parent company McClatchy spends $164,643 to move Kansas City Star publisher to Sacramento