Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tough Media Times

UPDATE 8/21/08 12:56 PM: Those looking for a LOT, and we mean a LOT, more detail on the Beacon's latest cuts need only turn to a story on Rubber City Radio's AkronNewsNow, by reporter Craig Simpson.

The story notes that the reported 20 job cuts targeted at the Beacon would comprise some 17-percent of the newsroom staff of 100.

And Simpson reports on how the reductions will affect the newspaper's readers:

The latest cuts will also be felt on the pages of the newspaper, according to accounts of a meeting held among newsroom staffers Tuesday. While Food, Enjoy!, weekend Home and Premier sections will remain other special feature sections will be dropped after Labor Day.

As we've said more than once, we hope Black Press keeps its Associated Press wire account current.

One other change we've noticed recently...the Beacon is reprinting, in full, articles written directly for other Ohio newspapers. That includes the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as that paper's story on Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones' death was published verbatim on the Beacon's front page Thursday, complete with the PD bylines.

We'll assume it's a reciprocal agreement among the Ohio papers, as we've seen stuff from the Beacon in the local news sections of the PD, articles from the Youngstown Vindicator in both papers, and so on. The articles are not being run through the Associated Press.

As all newspapers cut staff nationwide, and certainly here in Ohio, it's a way to "stretch the product".

Our original item is below...


It's a tiring refrain...the down economy, combined with a soft advertising market, have contributed to what seem to be never-ending layoffs for those in the media business.

We've chronicled various layoffs at radio clusters, and local TV outlets...wide reaching cuts that seem to have hit just about anything remotely resembling an electronic media outpost.

This time, it's print's turn to take more pain.

We first saw it as a short story in Wednesday's Akron Beacon Journal...the Black Press-owned paper says it's offering early retirement and buyouts to all newsroom employees.

WKYC/3 Akron Bureau chief Eric Mansfield reports that "multiple" sources at the Beacon say the paper's parent company is looking to eliminate 20 positions by getting employees to take the offer, the latest in the newspaper's attempt to downsize.

This Associated Press story we found on WEWS/5's "NewsNet5" website has more newspaper job news, and it's not good.

As it turns out, the Beacon isn't alone in offering a new wave of buyouts. The Advance Publications-owned Cleveland Plain Dealer is also offering the exit packages to a chunk of its non-union staff - around a third of the paper's total employee count, according to the AP.

The AP story says the PD buyouts are aimed at "newsroom managers", and a host of other non-newsroom employees...and says the Cleveland paper isn't looking for any specific number of employees to take the offer.

Though we've touched on big news from time to time, we're not in the habit of regularly covering moves in the print media in Northeast Ohio.

But if there's one media industry suffering even more than radio and television, it's the newspaper game. All of the electronic and print media are being hit hard by not only the current economic situation, but the growth of the Internet...while trying to figure out how to make enough money from the Internet to, well, keep people employed and producing the product...


Anonymous said...

Today- WEWS Power of 5, cut in earlier today that Stephanie "Tubbs" Jones died.. then they choked on their own words as they got the news from Plain Dealer reporter..
It was later fixed that Jones was "hospitalized" in critical condition with little or no brain function.

Way to go with jumping ahead with your power of 5!!!


Dave said...

Albie, it wasn't just TV-5, but CNN, Fox News, and WOIO that jumped the gun on the Congresswoman's death.

yekimi said...

That's what the get for consulting a psychic who claims to see the future.