Excerpts from a story just posted at newsobserver.com followed by my comments below the star line.
Newsobserver.com begins - - -
The News & Observer Publishing Co. this afternoon announced it is cutting jobs, cutting pay and requiring unpaid furloughs for its staff as it contends with steep declines in advertising revenue.
The newspaper company, which also owns community publications such as The Cary News and The Herald in Smithfield, will eliminate 78 positions, or 11 percent of its work force. The equivalent of about 27 full-time positions in The N&O newsroom are included.
The N&O will require remaining workers to take a week off without pay between May 1 and Oct. 31.
And it will cut salaries from 2.5 percent for lower-paid employees to 10 percent for the higher paid. Those making less than $25,000 a year won't see a pay cut.
"We are making our way through difficult times by making difficult decisions," N&O Publisher Orage Quarles III wrote in a memo to employees. "It is never easy to say goodbye to so many of our friends and colleagues, but we must make these additional cuts to sustain our company and adjust to new competitive and economic realities."
The cuts were expected and have been telegraphed for weeks after The N&O's parent, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, Calif., said it had to pare its business. The newspaper chain is wrestling with a severe drop in revenue as it tries to pay down debt. …
Quarles said The N&O will increase its cooperation with Charlotte to increase efficiencies and will speed the transition to a narrower newspaper, which will save on production costs.
The entire story’s here.
Just minutes ago I couldn’t find the text of Publisher Quarles statement at newsobserver.com but McClatchy Watch has a copy posted here.
McClatchy Watch has also posted "Anger in Raleigh," detailing what are predictable and understandable reactions by at least some N&O staffers.
As I’ve said many times before when commenting on staff cuts at the N&O, I’m sorry for the honest, able people there who are losing their jobs, have already lost their jobs or may do so in the future.
They are certainly victims of technological forces impacting all newspapers.
They're also victims of McClatchy’s preening, self-indulgent and extraordinarily unwise leadership in recent years and of those at the N&O who’ve frequently infused the paper with their ideological beliefs at the expense of fair and accurate journalism.
Looking to the future, the story’s closing graf:
Quarles said The N&O will increase its cooperation with Charlotte to increase efficiencies and will speed the transition to a narrower newspaper, which will save on production costs.will set many journalists to speculating whether rumors the N&O and CO will meld into one paper with separate Triangle and Charlotte “local” sections are true.
I've no “inside word” but I can understand why the rumors are going around.
As a practical matter, there’s already been a great deal of melding of the two papers.
And people who know the newspaper business tell me there could be considerable costs saved by melding the two.
There’s my first take on today’s announcements.
What do you say?