November 16, 2007 - 6:47 am - Posted by iDunzo
Newsroom layoffs have become increasingly common as the newspaper industry learns to cope with its online adolescence. What’s sobering is that even USA Today, currently the most read paper in the U.S., is going through the same process despite its continued success.
Gannett’s stalwart publication has announced that it will be cutting 45 newsroom positions, amounting to roughly nine percent of its editorial staff.
After holding a staff meeting to break the news, editor Ken Paulson sent out the following memo:
It’s unfortunate that we have to take these steps, particularly when our newspaper circulation is growing and USATODAY.com has been named the top news website in the country by the Online News Association. Unfortunately, revenue has not kept pace and we’re now facing the same cutbacks that so many other news organizations have already experienced.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. Later on in the memo Paulson reveals that there’s a specific criteria in place the types of employees they’d like to cut:
The job eliminations will be done on a voluntary basis in the form of buyouts for staffers with 15 years or more of Gannett experience and less than five years of online experience. Departments will exclude certain key positions based on strategic needs in 2008. We hope to achieve all job reductions through voluntary buyouts, but job eliminations are possible if we don’t have enough applicants.
Vaguely mentioning “online experience” as a factor just seems odd. It will be interesting to see how this story flushes out over the coming days.
Source: Poynter Online