Media General expanded its cost-cutting initiative, announcing plans to lay off 500 employees by July on top of the 250 laid off last year. The reduction amounts to 11% of the company’s 6,900-person workforce, an unusually deep cut even in these troubled times. Media General has been hammered by its exposure to weak Florida and California markets, where real estate advertising has shriveled and the recession is being felt more deeply than in other parts of the country. Most of the job cuts will come in the publishing division. Media General also owns 22 broadcast stations. The company will add 60 jobs in interactive media.

StopBigMedia.com smells a rat. The advocacy blog notes that Media General was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the FCC’s decision to lift its 30-year-old ban on media cross-ownership. The layoffs are thus hitting geographies where readers already have little choice in media, meaning that Media General will simply hack away at quality in the name of profitability, the blogger alleges. It appears, though, that the FCC’s decision will be reversed by Congress.


The Beaver County Times of Pennsylvania is shutting down its printing operation and consolidating production with the New Castle News. The move was necessitated by th deteriorating condition of the Times’ 44-year-old press, the publisher said. The paper will cut 16 full-time and 80 part-time positions. The News plans to hire six full-timers to handle the additional work.


Editor & Publisher reports that editorial cartoonists have been especially hard-hit by the newspaper downturn. Two decades ago, the industry employed about 200 cartoonists. Only about 85 are left. Latest casualties: Jake Fuller of the Gainesville Sun and Dave Granlund of the Metro West Daily News.

Miscellany

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz pens an unusually frank column on the state of the newspaper industry. Kurtz lists the names of talented colleagues who are leaving the paper and speculates about political maneuvering, but then closes with an honest account of the management mistakes and demographic trends that have led to this predicament. Quoting: “If newspapers wither and die, it will be in part because the next generation blew us off in favor of Xbox and Wii and full-length movies on their iPods. Network news faces the same erosion. Maybe, in the end, we get the media we deserve.”


Mother Jones has published photos of the empty San Jose Mercury News offices taken by staff designer Michael Martin Gee in April. The whole set is available on Flickr.


Comments

comments

This entry was posted on Monday, May 26th, 2008 at 7:37 am and is filed under Business News, Demographics, Layoffs, NewMedia, Newspapers, Regulation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments Off on More Layoffs Sweep Newspaper Industry

Comments

  1. May 28, 2008 @ 11:55 am



    Martin Gee took the photos at the San Jose Mercury News.

    Posted by Erica Smith
  2. June 19, 2008 @ 10:27 pm



    http://danvilleva.blogspot.com/ Media General has already gutted the Danville, VA market but local folks are talking and working on starting up a weekly. I was employed with Media General until I dared to object to a male reporter’s filming women’s breast and showing them around the newsroom. Read my blog for details. It’s disgusting. Media General is disgusting.

    Posted by Becky Blanton
  3. September 23, 2008 @ 7:59 am



    […] not pretty out there.  I found this via Lenslinger’s site which continues to be a favorite of mine.  […]

  4. September 28, 2008 @ 12:59 pm



    […] Corporate Media Man,” well, as you are finding out, your ass is mostly likely going to be out of work anyway. It’s when print people are out of work that they stop calling me bad names and start asking […]

  5. December 4, 2008 @ 11:24 am



    […] 4, 2008 · No Comments So, it turns out that my job was more affected by the recent layoffs than I had originally thought. I knew, of course, that the work load was going to increase, with […]