In your funereal Thursday media column: the Rocky Mountain News is dead, we'll all see more dead soldiers, the New York Times is dying slowly [UPDATED: ad layoffs], and Tribune is dying quickly:
After almost 150 years in business, the Rocky Mountain News is dead. It's the first major big-city paper to die in this new age of declining newspapers, but it won't be the last. It will publish its final edition tomorrow, leaving Denver with only one paper. Which, to be honest, is all that Denver could reasonably hope to support. Still, very sad for those folks who will go down with the ship. May they all go on to find more stable journalism jobs at...I don't even know.
The Pentagon will now allow the media to cover the homecoming of dead soldiers if the families agree, which seems like a fair idea. This marks a change from the Bush administration's official policy of "The dead who, now?"
The New York Times is cutting back the frequency of its T fashion magazine, from 15 to 12 issues per year. T is one of the paper's most successful and profitable products, but it depends on luxury advertising, which is now drying up. The downside of this: as we explained earlier, "T is one of the paper's most successful and profitable products."
A major part of the bankrupt Tribune Co.'s plan for turning its finances around was to sell its flagship skyscraper, the Tribune Tower in Chicago, along with the company's most coveted asset, the building's precious parking lot. But now they're giving up on that plan, because the economy sucks and nobody's buying huge buildings these days, so they'll have to come up with another way to help pay down the Tribune debt, which is so huge I can't even bring myself to say how huge it is. $13 billion.
The New York Times is shutting down four ad sales offices, laying off 27 ad employees, and leaving open 28 vacant positions. The internal memo:
A MESSAGE TO THE STAFF FROM DENISE WARREN AND ALEXIS BURYK
You are all aware of the challenges that we continue to face in these
rapidly changing and volatile economic times. Over the past year, we have
taken a series of cost-cutting measures to better align our expenses with
our revenues including a voluntary buyout, a freeze on excluded salaries,
as well as cuts in promotional spending and T&E.
Unfortunately, more must be done. This challenging business environment is
forcing us to make tough decisions that involve staff reductions. We have
made the extremely difficult decision to close the New Jersey, Long Island
and Westchester regional sales offices, and the Washington, DC national
sales office. Additionally, we have reduced a small number of sales
positions in New York.
As a result of our decision, we will reduce staff by 27 employees in the
advertising department. We have also gone dark on 28 open positions. All
employees who leave the Company as a result of this move will be given a
severance package and counseling.
Today and tomorrow we will say goodbye to colleagues we have worked with
and care about. It will be a difficult and emotional time for all of us.
We wish each of them well and we will work together to ensure the smoothest
possible transition for our customers. The suburban sales region will be
covered by our telesales department and the D.C. market will be handled out
of New York by the appropriate teams.
Though we will face challenges in our business moving forward, we will need
to continue to work together to weather this economic storm. We must now
focus our attention and energy on the future and the formidable challenges
we all face.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Together we can make a
difference and continue to build on our many achievements.