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Thursday, November 06, 2008


A Cold Day In Ventura County**

Perhaps, as a former writer at the Ventura County Star, I'm too close to this. Maybe I'm just too familiar with how many extra hours staffers there (and at many newspapers that size) routinely put into election coverage, hours they'll never get back to spend with their families, extra hours that, at least when I was there, never made it onto the time cards (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, take comp-time later, no problemo). Perhaps, because of all that, I'm the wrong person to opine on the E.W. Scripps Co.'s decision to conduct a post-presidential-election layoff today of 45 people at the Star — 17 from the newsroom (more than 20 percent) — according to a VCS source.

Layoffs are horrible. No doubt. No matter when they take place, it's a bad time. So, is it worse for a company to do a layoff immediately after it got the election coverage it wanted? Worse, for example, than doing the layoff the week of Christmas?

Yes. Yes it is.

TJ Sullivan

* Cross posted at LA Observed.


It looks like other Scripps properties are getting hit with layoffs today too. Here's one at the Southwest Florida Group, which includes the Naples Daily News, Bonita Daily News, and Marco Eagle.

Although no story about the layoff has yet appeared on the VCS Web site, many staffers have begun updating their Facebook status to note whether they were included in the layoffs.

Coverage of the layoff by the National Press Photographers Association.

Three more Scripps properties are reporting layoffs. The Caller-Times in Corpus Christi, TX, is losing 23 positions, The Abilene Reporter News is eliminating "seven full-time and four part-time positions between now and the end of the year," and the Evansville Courier & Press is losing 32 positions.

Editor & Publisher is reporting that E.W. Scripps is reportedly cutting 400 positions. Also see Fitz & Jen.

The Ventura County Star put up a brief, sans the usual reader comment option, after 4 p.m.
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Blogger John Ettorre said...

It is such a sad state of affairs. Doubly sad after I read a biography on the godfather of the chain, E.W. Scripps (who got his start with the Cleveland Press shortly after the Civil War; it closed the year after I got out of college). His powerful populist message kept the chain going strong for over a century, but now it's all come to a sad chapter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 3:44:00 AM PST  

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