Thursday, November 17, 2011

Editorial losses statewide at Booth

So far no indication of any job losses at Muskegon or Ann Arbor in the latest round of layoffs at Booth, but monitoring of the State WARN site will continue.

The State site also lists duplicate reports under the separate headings of Booth and for The Grand Rapids Press. Not sure if that is a mistake or if the numbers are combined. The Booth listing has 55 layoffs and Grand Rapids lists 146 layoffs. So the total layoffs for the State are either 488 or 543. At this time I am unable to reconcile those two numbers.

Here's what I do know about editorial. Layoff notices to reporters (including sports) of all grades were as follows: Grand Rapids (15); Kalamazoo (6); Bay City (12); Flint Journal (12); Jackson (10); and Saginaw (6). That's a total of 61 reporter positions lost. Currently the MLive Media Group is advertising for 9 news reporters, but it is unknown if the individual ads for each paper represent just one job or a series of positions. There are listings for a "Sports Reporter - Engagement," whatever the heck that means and Ann Arbor is advertising for a "Sports Reporter - Buzz" which I guess means they are looking for some kind of bee.

Two of the reporter positions are for slots in Lansing and Detroit, which would seemingly be new positions, although Booth once had an active and full Lansing bureau.

Right now there are 81 job listings on the MLive Media Group site. Editorial accounts for a minor percentage of those positions right now.

A total of 12 editor positions were among those receiving layoff notices. It appears there will be one sports editor (or something akin to that) for the whole chain. That person is a former Michigan State sports info flak who apparently helped start a pro-MSU blog site. That will bode well for coverage for my alma mater, but not sure what credibility that will have with readers from that other school.

A total of 9 photographers received layoff notices in the chain.  Although already consolidated, it appears that 12 copy editors also received pink slips in this latest round.

There are also additional editorial losses from the layoffs of 7 "content specialists" in Bay City and 1 from the Flint Journal.

Many folks have contacted me and asked what I thought about what will be the number of new editorial jobs and starting salaries with the new company. The short and honest answer is that I have no idea.

But it seems clear that if the company wanted, it could have simply moved everyone over to the new company seamlessly at their current salary. So my speculation is that there will either be far fewer editorial positions at a comparable salary or more jobs (but less than now) at a reduced pay scale.

As folks apply for these positions and let me know what the pay scale is, I'll pass that along.

It appears the layoffs come from every department and many are folks who were hired in the wake of the first round of buyouts a few years ago. My focus here is on the editorial departments but feel free to review the documents through the links and send me your reflections on the non-editorial areas.


Anonymous said...

Gaydou says the company has 1,200 employees in the state. Can anyone confirm that?

Anonymous said...

Amazing, just talked to one of those let go from FJ who refuses to believe any of this could have been avoided. A middle manager with a reputation for being the kind of butt kissing, never argue with mangment sorts Booth loved to promote, the person had little respect from those who worked under him. Still the proper soldier, the now unemployed manager refuses to see that those running the company started making bad decisions a long time ago. But those with the properly kissed behinds are still working.

Anonymous said...

Gaydou has told several media outlets that the new MLive has posted more than 200 jobs. But the highest number I've seen on its website is 87. It's 80 jobs right now.

Jim of L-Town said...

Well, it may be that the reporter postings may be for more than one position. Obviously, I don't know but it could be a job description for each paper rather than one job at each paper.


Anonymous said...

Hello Anonymous 09:40, I bet this ex-FJ manager and many others like him or her will start squealing like a stuck pig once all the layoffs occur and MLive and the FJ finish hiring for whatever content provider scraps are left. One isn't going to upset the apple cart if one believes he has a chance at returning to the paper, even if it is for less pay and benefits. Look for this blog to really heat up once the finality of things sinks in and the latest additions to the already swelling unemployment rolls feel they have nothing to lose by blasting their former employer, even anonymously, especially anonymously. Also, to those with the properly kissed behinds who are still working I would add those who are very good at kissing behinds. Still way too much politics and rewardinig of butt-kissers in the FJ's hiring, promotion and retention decisions. Funny how an employer that makes a business from reporting on the ugly and unfair underbelly of politics, cronyism and favoritism at the same time can be a bastion of same. Like the fox guarding the hen house, for sure.