* Well, you had to know this was coming…
Springfield’s daily newspaper is offering a voluntary severance program to nearly half its staff. The State Journal-Register cites the need for flexibility as it adjusts to rapid changes in the newspaper industry.
The company says it sent letters at the end of last week to 149 full-time employees who are not in the union and have been with the newspaper for at least a year. It’s also negotiating with its collective bargaining units to be able to make the same offer to 47 union employees. […]
The newspaper has a work force of 345, including part-time employees.
* Billy Dennis has been closely following the SJ-R’s parent company GateHouse for some time now, and isn’t really surprised…
Just this morning, I left a comment at Rich Miller’s site about how I was worried that by not replacing workers who leave, GateHouse Media was making it harder to practice newspaper journalism at the Peoria Journal Star. […]
They wouldn’t be offering early retirement to people they plan to replace. So this means more beats won’t be covered (or will be covered poorly as workloads increase). It probably means earlier deadlines because fewer people will need more time to get their jobs done.
* And one of his commenters had this to say…
There are two really odd things about this buyout offer — or at least what we know about it:
1. The huge number of people involved. One wonders how many buyouts they are really willing to accept. I can’t believe it’s all 149. There appears to be a rather extensive (but not revealed) list of reserved positions. For example, if every copy editor or every photog quit, that would be a problem.
2. The short service that makes an employee eligible for the offer. None of the dozens of newspaper buyouts I have read about in the past year or so has been offered to employees with only one year of service.
It’s an odd one. One can only guess at how overstaffed the bean-counters think the place is.
* A while back, I posted this map of GateHouse’s papers in Illinois [click for a larger image]…