In your tragic Thursday media column: more info on the companywide layoffs at Village Voice Media, the NYT Co. makes money, a Washington Post heiress has a bright idea, The Economist screws up, and newspaper layoffs are back.
- Yesterday we told you that the Village Voice had laid off key staffers recently. The reality of the situation is worse: the entire alt-weekly chain Village Voice Media has had a rash of layoffs at papers across the country. Tipsters have told us of more than 20 editorial staffers at nearly a dozen VVM-owned papers who were laid off recently, for financial reason. It appears to be a top-down order to trim budgets everywhere. "We had company wide layoffs. Every paper had to lose a few people," according to Seattle Weekly editor Mike Seely. So far, we've confirmed the following: at least one staff writer and one editor at the Houston Press; one staff writer at OC Weekly ("an economic decision in no way performance related," according to the editor); one staff writer and a web editor at Seattle Weekly. We've left messages seeking confirmations of other layoffs at the Dallas Observer, LA Weekly, City Pages, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, Riverfront Times, and SF Weekly. Hard times.
Update: We hear that the Broward/ Palm Beach New Times and the Miami New Times will each be losing a staff writer. We also hear that the entire chain is eliminating everyone holding the title of "Assistant Calendar Editor," a position at some but not all VVM papers. Also, three editors and a reporter were laid off at SF Weekly, as detailed here.
- The New York Times Co. has gone and made itself a quarterly profit! A cool $15 mil in the third quarter, compared to a $4.3 million loss in the quarter last year. Thanks to the fact that the company sold its stake in the Boston Red Sox! "Revenue in every advertising category was down." Shucks. Can't we sell the Red Sox every quarter?
- This is just too delicious not to point out to you, the angry unemployed mobs: here is what Washington Post editor (and member of the paper's ruling family) Lally Weymouth said when asked what she would do to "solve our fiscal crisis." Lally? "If I could do one thing, it would be to ensure the future of for-profit education companies, which this administration seems bent on eliminating. The Washington Post Company has struggled hard to be a good and decent company, but our for-profit education division is under fire by the administration, as are other for-profit education companies like Apollo and Strayer. (Full disclosure: I and my family have an ownership interest in WPO.)" To solve the fiscal crisis, she would make herself rich.(via Alex Pareene)
- The Economist just discovered its been mistakenly giving away free digital subscriptions. Plug that hole! It costs money to be that bored, people.
- Also, the St. Petersburg Times just laid off 6% of its staff. This is starting to sound familiar.
[Additional reporting by Leah Beckmann]