Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Recession & The Newsroom

Clark Hoyt, the Public Editor at the New York Times, wrote an interest an interesting article, "Recession, Revolution and a Leaner Times," about the impact the recession is having on the newsroom. Here are some highlights:
  • The Times retains the largest newsroom of any American paper — 1,250 reporters, photographers, editors, columnists, graphic artists, Web producers, videographers and more — it is about to cut 100 people through voluntary buyouts and, if needed, layoffs that would happen in the weeks before Christmas.
  • Other cuts: The Baltimore Sun had 400 journalists, is now down to 150 journalists. The Los Angeles Times, where a staff of more than 1,100 has been cut nearly in half.
  • Rick Edmonds, a scholar at the Poynter Institute, a journalism training center in Florida, estimated last month that newspapers have reduced spending on journalism by $1.6 billion a year over the past several years.
  • Bill Keller, executive editor, said he is determined to avoid closing foreign or national bureaus and does not expect significant cuts in Washington, DC.
  • The Times has already reduced "the support staff, cutting freelance budgets, capping expense-account meals, seeking bargain airfares and hotels, rotating foreign correspondents every five years instead of four, and housing some bureaus in correspondents’ homes rather than downtown offices. The nice car and driver for the London bureau chief? History."
  • "The metro staff, with more than 60 reporters, is still the largest, but it has been reduced by nearly 20 percent over a decade. The paper, for example, no longer has correspondents in the state capitals of New Jersey and Connecticut." Much the way the Journal announced that it would close its Boston bureau, shifting some coverage to New York.
  • With an around-the-clock news cycle, reporters file throughout the day, and copy can be edited over a smoother cycle.
  • Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, said the newsroom cuts and a decision about charging online readers are entirely separate issues. The cuts are “meant to address the immediate, short-term realities of our current economic situation.” Charging for online content, he said, is a strategic issue that “would have little or no impact on our financial results in the short term, but rather position us differently for long-term grow.
Very interesting insight into the newsroom.

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