It's been a very bad day for Boothies on the west side of Michigan. I know those of us who have already been through the end of our careers feel for those who are now facing the abyss.
As always, the rumors started flying on Wednesday (I received several tips beginning Wednesday afternoon) that something bad was in the offing for Friday. The rumors, in this case, were right.
Kalamazoo got the bad news today and layoffs were announced in P&D, editorial and advertising. There was a morning meeting and an afternoon meeting to deliver the bad news, according to sources there.
Individual meetings are planned to deliver the really bad news.
According to one source, severance packages will be offered to those laid off, and new part-time positions (possibly the ones published yesterday ahead of today's announcement - nice, eh?) are being created.
For reporters on the layoff list, a 48-hour notification window with severance packages are expected to arrive at people's mailboxes Monday.
There appears to be an chance for the laid off full-time reporters to apply for the downsized part-time positions. And some management folks will suffer salary decreases.
Presses at the Gazette will be "moth balled" with printing of the Gazette moving to Grand Rapids.
Friday's meetings were a poorly kept secret and I began getting notifications of it on Wednesday.
The news at Grand Rapids is equally bad.
A total of 65 layoffs at the Grand Rapids Press, 15 from the newsroom. Will have to wait and see how that all shakes out.
Ad production is reportedly heading to Erie, Pennsylvania, so a pretty long commute for the Booth faithful on the west side of the State. That fact, along with many others were left out of the cushy, lame news release put out by the company. For a news gathering organization they certainly aren't ashamed enough to cover their own bad news with the same sensational language they would use for some other company.
Or perhaps, the editor didn't risk letting a real business reporter cover the story as it should have been. Shameless.
I'm told the Muskegon Chronicle is down to six reporters, but could use some help if that's a decrease from today, or if it has been that low for awhile.
Once again we'll wait and see how much pain the suits and brains that have brought Booth/Advance to this point suffer. Guessing probably not as much as those they led.
All this became possible when the "Lifetime" job pledge was withdrawn in August. I have a question. How do you withdraw a lifetime pledge, before a lifetime is over? If you can withdraw a lifetime pledge, then it never was one. That would make it a lie.
At least one layoff today at the Flint Journal. (Aren't they hiring?) Inside Out has that story.
Hang in there folks, our hearts are with you.