Monday, February 18, 2008

Two pieces of newspaper news

Hi folks,

Nothing new on the layoff front, I'm afraid. From what I hear, lists of possible cuts have been submitted to the corporate guys and we may have some news soon. I don't think it'll be the end of the world, but I do think it will be the beginning of a rocky, uncertain few months. We hope to have some sort of news soon and will have plenty to talk about on Wednesday night. Thanks to everyone who RSVP'd, and please keep 'em coming. This is when we need you most.

In the interim, here's a few pieces of news floating around the industry. They're all pretty grim, unfortunately.

First, here's the MediaNews quarterly report:
The company saw revenue slide from $372 million in the second quarter of '06 to $345 million this time, a 7.3 percent dip. Profits increased 33 percent, however, from $12.9 million in 2006's second quarter to $17.4 million in the most recent quarter. That appears to be mainly on a one-time gain of $12.5 million on sales of assets, so that's not great news. (Thanks to John McCoy for the link)

Secondly, Ad Age tells us that 1 in 4 media jobs have vanished since 1990. That's no surprise-- staffs have contracted every year I've been in the biz and they'll probably continue to shrink. But seeing the numbers laid out in that fashion is pretty sobering. The mag's advice? Go into marketing, instead. There also's some decent growth in online media jobs, so our skills remain in demand, even if our jobs are not valued by the people who cut the checks.

I'm going to forward some job leads around that have come into my inbox lately-- as I've said many times before, I'm always sad to see anyone leave, but I think it's wise for all of us to keep our eyes open for other options.

As I've said many times in the last few weeks, I'm struggling for the right tone here. I don't want to run down the news paper that I love, nor do I want to paint a portrait of impending doom. This place will survive and there will still be opportunities to do the great work you do now. But it will also be a very different newspaper and I don't want anyone to be caught off guard. It will be challenging, it will be frustrating, but we will get through this.

That's all for now-- hang in there and we'll see you on Wednesday.



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