It’s a dismal day in newsland. Gannett Co. will cut 10% of its workforce, or about 3,000 jobs, by early December. The announcement – Gannett’s second major headcount reduction this year – will bring to over 15,000 the number of newspaper employees who have lost their jobs in the US alone in 2008.
In reporting sharply lower earnings on a stunning 17.7% drop in quarterly revenue, Gannett said it must cut broadly across its portfolio of 84 major daily and hundreds of local newspapers, with the sole exception of USA Today, which appeared to escape the carnage. Rather than cutting arbitrarily, the company will ask each paper to submit its own plan and then trim selectively. These aren’t buyouts but layoffs, and they come on top of the 1,000-person reduction announced in August.
Also today, Time, Inc. said it plans to cut 600 jobs, or 6% of its workforce, and restructure the company in a move to rein in its decentralized structure and improve efficiency. The layoffs will come across the range of Time, Inc. titles, although some publications will be hit more severely than others. The company will also organize its 24 magazines into three groups: news, lifestyle and style/entertainment. A New York Times report says the restructuring is intended to focus more energy on the company’s flagship brands like Sports Illustrated and Fortune, while increasing information-sharing and even bylines across publications. The company will still have 10,200 employees internationally after the cuts.
Gawker has a list of Time, Inc. layoffs and closures stretching back to 2002. The site also notes that the coincident resignation of Time publisher Ed McCarrick, a 35-year veteran, is a symbolic departure from the old-school style of publishing, in which two-martini lunches and golf courses were the principal business venues.
Analyzing the Monitor‘s Exit from Print
The New York Times offers some perspective on yesterday’s announcement that the Christian Science Monitor will broadly scale back its print operations, saying the move makes the Monitor “the first national newspaper to largely give up on print.” The Times also quotes Monitor editor John Yemma describing the move as “a new model” that few news organizations outside of the heavily subsidized Monitor could hope to attempt. Stephanie Clifford’s account also notes that Monitor circulation has dropped from 220,000 in 1970 to 52,000, making the print closure a lot easier to justify. She adds that while going online-only may seem appealing to some executives, print advertising still brings in 92% of newspaper revenue in the US.
Such was evidently not the case at the Monitor, though. Yemma is quoted as saying that advertising revenue brings in a paltry $1 million a year, compared to $9 million from subscription revenue. In fact, the Monitor already makes more money online than in print, he said. Not many newspaper publishers can say that. Another nugget: the CSMonitor.com site gets about 3 million page views a month right now, a number Yemma said he wants to increase to at least 20 million over five years.
That’s the Press, Baby! agues that had the Monitor been forced to fend for itself as a profit-making entity rather than enjoying massive subsidies from the Christian Science Church, it would have closed the print business long ago. David Sullivan also harkens back to his youth in Indiana, when two daily newspapers controlled the flow of information and told you only what served their political interests. The Monitor was an oasis of objectivity and journalistic quality in that stew, Sullivan writes, and he hopes it will continue to set a standard for rational discourse when everyone else is going crazy.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 1:02 pm and is filed under Business News, BusinessModel, Circulation, Layoffs, NewMedia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.