Tribune Co., struggling with declining revenue, today said it would cut staff by 400 to 500 people companywide, or around 2% of the Chicago-based media company’s workforce. At the Los Angeles Times, 100 to 150 jobs will be eliminated, 40 to 50 in the newsroom, through a combination of attrition, voluntary buyouts and, if necessary, layoffs, Publisher David D. Hiller said in an interview this morning.
Like clockwork, management misses the point yet again, and cuts the wrong part of the budget …
If Trib owner Sam Zell follows the usual layoff pattern the Times suffers every … single … time … a new owner starts feeling his oats, it’ll translate to an unhealthy mix of buyouts and layoffs.
They’ll do the requisite clearing of a wee bit of deadwood – those veteran staffers who write maybe two prize-bait stories a year for $100k+ salaries will get proportionately beefy go-away money. They’ll close a few open positions, maybe consolidate a bureau or two and reel in some national correspondents from remote offices. And the rest will be the sort of horrible bloodletting that further dims the paper’s already-fading newsgathering strength.
For all the innovations added (and more supposedly on the way) to LATimes.com (innovations in content and the increased relaxing of anally-retentive comment controls have been encouraging, but too little & too damn late for the GoogleNews / Yahoo / Facebook / Twitter crowd), it usually boils down to bad short-term, please-the-stockholders thinking. This time (thanks, Darleene) it’s just rank short-term bottom-line management.
Does anyone know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the Times still devotes to imprinting dead trees with what amounts to day-old news every single night – and how many news-staff salaries that could buy if they had made smarter investments in online strategy development 10 years ago? Just saying.