More job cuts at N&O

It may be only 20 positions eliminated, but I wonder who those twenty are?

The News & Observer Publishing Co. plans to eliminate about 20 positions, the latest cuts as the media company rides out a sharp decline in revenue.

Affected employees will be provided severance payments and other transition assistance. The N&O now has 524 full-time positions, down from 704 a year ago. The newspaper last year also cut wages, suspended contributions to retirement plans and required unpaid furloughs for its staff.


I hope this is just a coincidence,

but Bill Krueger is no longer listed as a Dome contributor. He just got promoted recently, which...okay, maybe that's not always a job security "plus"...


The Twitter machine has been buzzing with layoff news all day. Sad all around ... for those losing their jobs and for those of us depending on them to be watchdogs.

As wrong as wrong can be

It is wrong as wrong can be to see journalists that do valuable work for the public be in this terrible situation. I used to be a full-time news writer and small newspaper editor and I know how hard journalists work. They make sacrifices in both time and money to do the good work they do on behalf of a higher calling, if you will.

But the newspaper business is a business, and the bottom line, not the First Amendement, is the driver of these kinds of decisions. It is wrong, but it is real, not for the writers only, but for the other hard working support staff--distribution, advertising, printing and design--and I am truly sorry about it.

Charles Malone

Charles Malone

Here is the letter to the employees

Date: January 11, 2010 2:01:21 PM EST
To: N&O Employees
Subject: Announcement

We continue to operate in a time of great challenge at The News & Observer, at The McClatchy Company and within the newspaper industry. While we have already implemented a number of cost-control and reorganization measures, revenues continue to show losses, and we must reduce our expenses until we are again showing growth.

Today, The News & Observer is announcing it will reduce 21 positions. These reductions affect a number of areas of our operation. Some positions will be eliminated through layoffs, and some departments will have opportunities for employees in certain work groups of two or more to accept a voluntary severance package. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, work groups will be reduced according to length of employment.

The employees who are affected are being told today and given information about a transition package. We appreciate all that these coworkers and friends have done for The N&O, and we will make their transition as smooth as possible.

I know that these announcements are distracting and disruptive, and I apologize for that. We can only ask, with utmost respect and gratitude for all that you do, that everyone stays focused and continues to work hard to help our company continue to make its way through these difficult times.

Please contact human resources if you have questions about the severance program. Thank you.

Thanks for posting this, Chris

As my former employer slowly circled the drain, I had to fashion a few letters like this myself. And actually break the bad news personally to over a hundred pink-slip recipients whom I had worked with for years, and hold face-to-face meetings/pep rallies with the survivors, where I had to deal with questions like, "Will there be any more layoffs?" and "Am I next?"

It may only be 21 this time, but for those 21, it's a hell of a thing. My heart goes out to them.


We must reduce our expenses until we are again showing growth.

Otherwise known as the free-market death spiral.

Cut from the top

Funny how the whole "reduce expenses" thing never seems to include cutting from the top.


True to the bone

When I worked in manufacturing, we had lay-offs on occasion. They affected the "floor" people almost exclusively. You rarely, if ever, saw managers or office personnel laid off.

Good call.