Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More cuts at The Herald

Exactly three months after announcing a 17% reduction of The Miami Herald's workforce, managing editor Anders Gyllenhaal dropped another bombshell on beleaguered Herald staffers Tuesday and announced more cuts to the already decimated newsroom staff.

In an internal memo obtained exclusively by Random Pixels, Gyllenhaal writes that the newsroom will lose 23 editorial staffers; part of a total of another 119 positions that will be cut from the Herald's workforce.

In other news Tuesday parent company McClatchy ordered "an additional cost restructuring to reduce its total workforce by about 10%, or approximately 1,150 full-time equivalent employee positions (FTE's) as the company manages through today's difficult advertising downturn."

  • Gyllenhaal's memo to Herald newsroom staff:

    This is to follow up the message from David Landsberg on the company-wide staff reductions just announced and to outline how the next two days will go in our department. In the newsroom, the reductions will mean the departure of 23 colleagues from positions spread across all desks and disciplines.

    We will do our best to work our way through this by explaining the plans clearly and answering any questions as quickly and completely as possible.

    We'll hold staff meetings today at 5:45 p.m. in the sixth-floor training room and the Pines office, and tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the training room. Anyone directly affected, including those offered voluntary buyouts, will be contacted with information about group and individual meetings.

    The plan includes several steps. The first will be voluntary buyouts offered to about 200 members of the newsroom staff, including some not eligible for buyouts in the past. Staff members will have until next Wednesday, the 24th, to decide on the voluntary offer, which includes the same elements as the offer in June. The company's decision on accepting them will be made by Friday, the 26th.

    We will then move to a second phase, reducing additional positions needed to reach the newsroom's share. Plans calls for this to include editors, reporters, photographers, designers, clerks and copy editors. As we all know, this is a time of high anxiety and uncertainty in our profession and the coming weeks will be emotionally wrenching for everyone. But The Herald has enormous strengths, which has been made clear as we've dealt with the first phases of this contraction. The newsroom has continued pushing ahead on initiatives at the same time as doing exemplary work stories large and small. There is no simple way to work through what's ahead of us. The best response is to try to explain the plans each step of the way and provide as much information as possible.

    Please make it a point to get to one of the staff meetings today or tomorrow. If you have questions, or are unable to attend the meeting, talk with your supervisor, with other editors, with me, or with Ali Hernandez, who is working with the newsroom on this.Here is the schedule for the staff meetings as well as the smaller group sessions today and tomorrow.

    General Staff Meetings | Time | Place | Leader

    Newsroom Staff Meeting Tues., 5:45 p.m. 6th Floor Anders

    Broward Newsroom Tues., 5:45 p.m. Pines Dave/Pat

    Newsroom Staff Meeting Wed., 11 a.m. 6th Floor Anders

    Voluntary Buyout Discussions

    Reporters/cols in Broward 6:30 p.m. Pines Pat/Dave

    Copy editors 6:30 p.m. 6th Floor Conf Eddie/Jeff

    Multimedia producers 6:30 p.m. Miller conf rm Rick/Shelley

    Design supervisors 7 p.m. Eddie's office Eddie

    All reporters/columnists 10 a.m. 6th floor conf Jay/Manny/Anders

    Photo editors 11 a.m. Knight Conf Room Luis/Rick

    Features rept, and columnists noon . 6th Floor conf room Mindy/Anders

    Business reporters 1 p.m. 6th floor conf Lisa/Manny

    Photographers 2/3 1 p.m. Photo Luis/Rick (Anders)

    News/Features/World editors 1:30 pm Miller conf rm Manny/John/Mindy

    Sports reporters 2 p.m. 6th Floor conf room Jorge/Dave

    Wireroom 4:30 a.m. Dave Wilson's office Dave

    Conference call 5 pm Wednesday Anders (for bureau staffers or anyone unable to attend meetings)
    The additional cuts today at One Herald Plaza surprised almost no one.

    Staffers were expecting this announcement for weeks as other papers in the McClatchy chain began to announce cuts above and beyond the across the board cuts ordered by McClatchy in June.

    "We've been working under a dark cloud," one tired staffer told me before today's announcement. "I don't know who else there is to cut; there aren't enough people to put out the paper now."
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