Wednesday, May 25, 2005

CUTBACKS ANNOUNCED AT GLOBE, T&G. The New York Times Company this morning announced that 190 jobs will be eliminated at the Times and at the New England Newspaper Group, which comprises the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

Romenesko has already posted two memos - one from the Times Company's chairman and president/CEO, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Janet Robinson, and one from Times executive editor Bill Keller.

What follows is a memo from Richard Gilman, publisher of the Globe and president of the New England Newspaper Group:

Dear Colleague,

Just moments ago, you received a letter from Arthur and Janet about workforce reductions at The New York Times and here at the Globe and other New England Media Group properties.

We've been talking about a portion of these reductions for months now as part of our Streamline to Grow initiative. However, during the past few weeks we have broadened the reductions in response to the current challenges we face in advertising at The Times and the Globe and the cloudy economic outlook for the remainder of the year.

These steps are simply good management, and I'm confident that none of the staffing changes will affect our ability to produce a quality product. For instance, as the New England Media Group has grown, we have created some duplication. Streamline to Grow focuses on eliminating that in financial and technology roles.

Many of the affected positions - approximately one-third - already are vacant. Notification of the other jobs to be eliminated will be made between now and, in the case of Streamline to Grow, the end of July. In some cases, because of contractual obligations, we will begin with voluntary separation programs and move to non-voluntary reductions where necessary. In a few other instances, the reductions will have to be entirely non-voluntary. However, severance packages will be equitable for all departing employees and will be based on years of service and current salary.

We realize that these steps create anxiety, even among our top performers. We can't eliminate that entirely but let me reiterate a few important points: more than one-third of the affected jobs are already vacant; the bulk of the STG reductions will occur in financial and technology roles; in non-STG impacted jobs, all those in full-time exempt positions who are affected will be notified today; and finally, virtually all of the remaining reductions will be made in part-time positions. If you are not in any of these categories, there is a very high likelihood that you will not be affected.

As we move forward to complete the overall plan, we will continue to communicate with you about what is ahead. If you have questions about the process, I urge you to talk with your supervisor or with any of our representatives in Employee Relations and Human Resources. As always, Rick, myself and other members of the senior management team are available to answer your questions.

As Arthur and Janet mention in their message, conditions in the media marketplace remain difficult. But keep in mind that we have successfully made it through similar challenges in the past. I am entirely confident that we will do so again.

Greg Gatlin reported on the bulk of these cuts in the Boston Herald on April 22, when he wrote that 40 positions in finance and technology would be eliminated. So it sounds like the reductions will have little or no effect on news coverage - but shoes remain to be dropped.


John Farrell said...

Exactly...makes you wonder if any of their top columnists are going to be taking early retirement...before it takes them.

Diane said...

I'd like to cast a vote for the retirement, voluntary or un, of Joan Vennochi.

Anonymous said...

"Streamline to Grow initiative"! Damn how I hate that CorpSpeak. I work for a major, major corporation, and generally it is a terrific place to be, but the CorpSpeak can make one hurl.

Anonymous said...

Joan Vennochi is first rate. If newspapers dump what few straight speakers are on their staffs in favor of a straight-left lineup, their dive to oblivion will only pick up speed.

Anonymous said...

The Globe's online version used to be free. Not any more. Now it shows up a register screen if you want to read the article. How foolish.

Bye bye, Globe! In a few years, people in Boston probably wouldn't remember a daily paper called Boston Globe.

And everybody will be reading Metros. Haha!

Anonymous said...

The Globe online is still free, you just have to register. It can still be a pain, since the login seems to pop up randomly, some days you can read everything without registering, somedays you have to register for certain copy, and somedays it seems you have to register for the whole paper.

With the NYT going to a pay subscription for its columnists, it will be interesting to see if the Globe follows suit, although I doubt there are many columnists at the Globe who have the clout to pull in money.

Anonymous said...

haha -- everyone will be reading metros?

so....does anyone expect that free newspapers will do the kind of enterprise or investigative reporting that papers like the globe have done -- to the benefit of their community and state? in our zeal to take down traditional media like the globe or newsweek or other papers/magazines people are losing sight of what's important.

enjoy your free newspapers....

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with efg about CorpSpeak. At our mammoth company (I say "our" even though I am only a contractor and therefore lower than pond scum to the powers that be), it's called "Adjusting to Scale." Which means that the stock price is still not rebounding after the latest acquisition, multimillion dollar CEO salaries are harder to justify, and therefore a blue-ribbon panel of senior directors and up will decide which troops doing the real work must be sacrificed. Oh, and contractors are asked for a 10% giveback after four years of a rate freeze.

Anonymous said...

Vennochi isn't even THIRD rate.