Big Changes at the Daily News
You've probably all heard the news today, one way or another, but after weeks of speculation about layoffs and reorganization, we finally got some concrete facts. Overall, there were 21 jobs lost, though I've seen conflicting reports about whether they were LANG-wide or just at the Daily News. In the newsroom, we lost three employee positions and one manager. Executive-wise, we also lost our publisher, finance, circulation and human resources directors.
I asked both John McKeon, our new publisher, and Ron Kaye whether there would be more cuts to come. Both said that while they couldn't definitively say that there would never be additional job loss, they expected this to be the last of the cuts. Ron, in particular, seemed upset about having to let the people go, and McKeon seemed to share in his remorse. He said that a strong Daily News, as the flagship paper in the chain, was key to LANG's success and that he hoped to see it grow in the future.
Especially for the folks who lost their jobs, this has clearly been an awful day. I spoke with each of the newsroom employees and while they all handled it with grace and good attitudes, when you remember that these are real people, with real lives, it reminds you how terrible this is. They aren't numbers on a payroll sheet, they're our friends and coworkers, the ones who put in long hours with us to put out the paper under stressful conditions. They will be sorely missed.
And for anyone who didn't see the UNISYS message, I want to thank Kimberly Armendariz, who selflessly came forward and volunteered to give up her job. She stepped up and put herself on the line, which saved another position that would have probably been eliminated. I don't know where it would have come from, but by doing so, she kept one of us in a job. While I'm really sad to see her go, it made me feel good to see such a generous, thoughtful act, especially during such tough times.
With that in mind, I'm asking for all of your help-- we've all got to stick together and help our departed colleagues find new work now. Given the state of the industry at the moment, that'll be a challenge, but if anyone knows of open reporter, designer or copy editor positions, particularly in sports, anywhere, please let me know as soon as possible. The company is trying to do right by them and they're all smart, capable individuals, but any leads anyone has would be greatly appreciated. Ask your friends at other papers and elsewhere in the industry and we'll do our best to make sure they get back on their feet quickly.
Whether we shared an office, a department or just a common goal with them, these people deserve everything we can offer them. If we were in their place, they'd do the same for us, so we've got to pitch in now to help them. Now, more than ever, we've got to look out for one another.
And for those of us left, we've got to pull together, as well. As Ron said in the newsroom meeting, we have got to figure out a way to connect with readers and how to make the paper the best that we possibly can. We've got to come up with new ideas and when we see ways the place better, we've got to take him up on his request for suggestions. This is a staff of tremendously creative, intelligent people and we've got a chance here to fight our way to success.
It's tough to see an upside to a day like this, but if there's any positive news, it's the idea that we can help remake the paper into something we can all take even more pride in. Ron singled out Greg Hernandez in the meeting as an example of someone who's done something unique and powerful with his Out in Hollywood blog, and we can all learn from Greg. He created that blog on his own, he wasn't directed to do so from above, and he's done a masterful job of building it, promoting it and keeping it fresh. We can't just sit on our hands and regret that the business ain't what it used to be, nor can we curse our lack of resources or the historical dysfunction at the Daily News. We can just take Ron up on his offer and build that change on our own terms.
So that's all I've got for this evening-- thank you for listening and thanks for your help. Please keep an eye out for ways we can help the people who lost their jobs. The worst should be over now, so let's find a way to rebuild and move on so we don't end up here again.