Daily News update
For those of you who didn't hear the budget news, Ron laid it out for us today: on August 12, the Daily News is eliminating zone coverage in Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley. We'll lose the SAC and AV wraps and the staffing will be greatly reduced.
Out of three reporter positions and one photographer in AV, three reporters, a clerk, a photographer and the bureau chief in SAC, we'll have one reporter in each office and one editor for both. Coverage will be dramatically curtailed, with those bureau staffers contributing to the main sheet. I believe some pressmen lost their jobs, as well, but that's out of my area of expertise, so I can't talk specifics.
The company's offering buyouts equal to one week's pay for each year of service, up to six years and three months paid COBRA health care. For those reporters and photographers who don't want to take the buyouts, they'll be offered jobs in Woodland Hills, which would lead to a few more layoffs elsewhere.
While I appreciate Ron's attempts to minimize job loss and that he personally informed the staff involved, rather than sending an e-mail or someone else to do his dirty work, today is a terrible day. Once again, MediaNews' corporate moneyhounds have put profit ahead of people and good journalism, and that's horrible for everyone involved. While the overall job loss should be relatively minor, that doesn't matter much when it's your job that's eliminated. My heart goes out to the people who've worked so hard up there and we'll all need to keep our eyes out for other employment possibilities for them.
We'll know in a few days how this all works out, who chooses to stay and who chooses to move on. Whatever decision they make, we're here to ensure things go smoothly and fairly. And we will support every one of them all the way, no matter when they stop at the Daily News. To the budget watchers in Denver, these are just numbers on a page, but to us, these our our friends and colleagues. We'll look out for them to the last.
I know this is not an easy time for anyone, but I hope that for those who choose to stick around, you'll continue to believe in the paper and each other. Throughout all this craziness, you've done fantastic work and should be really proud of everything you've accomplished. Thank you for all your dedication and skill-- while the corporate budgeteers may not appreciate it, the people of this community do. Hang in there and I'll share more news for you as soon as I have it.