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Archive for June, 2008

I tried!

I tried to move my blog over here to Word Press but the interface was just too much for me to handle. I like the clean layouts here but I don’t have enough time to jump through hoops to get stuff posted. So let’s all meet back at the old place! Sorry for the confusion.

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UPDATED at 1:10pm below in red

The McClatchy Company, parent company of the Miami Herald, announced Monday that it’s slashing its workforce by 10%.
From the McClatchy press release:

“The effects of the current national economic downturn — particularly in real estate, auto and employment advertising — make it essential that we move faster now to realign our workforce and make our operations more efficient. I’m sorry this requires the painful announcement we are making today, but we’re taking this action to help ensure a healthy future for our company.”

My sources say that the Herald will be cutting 17% of its employees. This is confirmed by a story on the Herald’s website. About 250 employees are affected including 190 who will be laid off (fired).

At another McClatchy owned paper, the Charlotte Observer, publisher Ann Caulkins announced that the Observer is cutting 11% of its workforce or about 123 jobs; 22 of those in the newsroom.

McClatchy Watch has a breakdown of cuts at other McClatchy-owned papers.

It looks like the Herald is the hardest hit so far.

Herald Watch has a memo from managing editor Anders Gyllenhaal who calls the cuts “cost reductions.”

One sentence in the first graph is very telling.

“For The Herald newsroom, this will mean a series of steps, including buyouts, reorganization of several departments, a leaner management and an expansion of outsourcing.”

“Leaner management” apparently means that some managers will probably be losing their jobs. And how the newsroom will be affected by “an expansion of outsourcing” remains to be seen.

The memo goes in to great detail outlining meetings that are going to take up much of the day and where no doubt more than a few tears will be shed and feelings laid bare.

 A source reports that the 11pm general meeting with Anders was subdued.
Employees are now fanning out throughout the building for departmental meetings.
In all the Herald newsroom will lose 41 people, about 12% of the staff.

Buyouts will be offered to a predetermined number of employees in different departments. If there aren’t enough takers, then layoffs will follow. 

 

My source reports that all managing editor positions are being eliminated however some managing editors, such as Dave Wilson and Rick Hirsch, will retain their jobs under new designations.
Others like Liza Gross, who is Managing Editor/Presentation & Operations are being reassigned. Gross will become a reporter on the world desk.
My source reports that El Nuevo Herald will lose 9 positions. The El Nuevo photo staff will be merged with the Herald photo staff.

Another casualty is the Herald’s International edition which will be eliminated.

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An obscenity trial in Los Angeles federal court was suspended Wednesday after the judge acknowledged maintaining his own publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos.

Lawyers for a Texas inmate facing execution next week filed court papers on Thursday accusing the judge at his double-murder trial of having an affair with the prosecutor.

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Tributes to the Herald’s “newsroom rooster” are growing. Photo taken late Thursday afternoon. (click to enlarge)

UPDATED AT 5:10pm

Still no word on newsroom layoffs or buyouts at the Miami Herald a day after a top McClatchy executive visited and met with Herald brass.

However it appears that some in the newsroom can’t wait any longer for word from the executive suite.

They’ve turned to a higher authority for help.

A newsroom source reports that someone has left a large life-size replica of a rooster on a counter in the fifth floor newsroom that’s visible to all who enter from a bank of elevators. My source says from 20 feet away the bird looks very real.

A sign attached to the rooster reads: “Brought in by a Santeria priest (the real deal from Hialeah) to help save our jobs. Leave an offering.”

As of 5pm, the counter on which the 20-inch tall colorful rooster stands was littered with an assortment of tributes including coins of all denominations, two wrapped cigars, a half-smoked hand-rolled cigar from Little Havana, a tiny plastic doll with a sign that says: “Feed the niños,” a Virgin de Guadalupe candle and what appears to be a plastic “dashboard Jesus.”

There’s no humor like newsroom gallows humor.

Good luck to all at the Herald.

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The news from the Miami Herald on Wednesday afternoon is there is no news.

McClatchy vice president of operations Frank Whittaker, who oversees 10 daily newspapers in California, Florida and the Midwest, was seen coming back from a breakfast meeting this morning with top Herald executives according to my sources.

Some of the Herald execs attending the breakfast meeting with Whittaker were publisher David Landsberg, executive editor Anders Gyllenhaal, Elissa Vanaver, VP/Human Resources and assistant to the publisher, Rick Hirsch, Managing Editor/Multimedia & Special Projects and Liza Gross, Managing Editor/Presentation & Operations.

But late Wednesday afternoon no word was forthcoming from the executive suite.

For weeks rumors have been circulating at the paper of personnel cuts of as much as 15%.

My sources say the mood in the newsroom is very tense.

People are “freaking out,” said one source adding, “it’s a very tense time. They are dealing with people’s lives. These are people who have worked their hearts out for this paper. And if it’s not this round maybe next round.”

While no one knows yet where the cuts will come from some rumors circulating say the sports department will be spared major cuts.

But one source said, “they’ve cut all the fat and now they’re starting to cut into the muscle. The newspaper business is changing faster than gas prices.”

Stay tuned.

E-mail tips to: newshawk@gmail.com

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Here at Random Pixels we spare no effort in bringing you news not just from our own backyard in South Florida, but we also span the globe for news that matters!

We search night and day for the important stories. Fluff, trivia and superficiality might have a place elsewhere on the Internet but you’ll find none of that at Random Pixels.

So tonight as we were perusing the New York Times website we happened upon a seemingly innocuous item from France. It appeared to document the abrupt replacement of an older male French TV anchor named Patrick Poivre d’Arvor by a younger one named Laurence Ferrari on France’s most-watched evening news program

Here’s the entire item:

“France’s best-known newscaster, whose name became a brand, is being pushed out after decades on the air because of declining ratings, the French news media reported. The newsman, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, 60, known as PPDA, has been the anchor of the main news program at 8 p.m. on TF1, the country’s largest private broadcaster, since 1987, after years of similar work on the public broadcast station France 2. He will be replaced by Laurence Ferrari, 41, who is both glamorous and popular.”

But it was that last line of the short dispatch that caused our journalistic instincts to kick in to high gear: “He will be replaced by Laurence Ferrari, 41, who is both glamorous and popular.”

It seemed to us like a strange way to characterize the younger anchor. Oddly, there was no mention of Laurence’s journalism credentials.

We dug deeper and did a Google image search.

And suddenly it all became crystal clear!That’s Patrick on the left and Laurence on the right. Got it?

This all might seem silly to you but today in France this was major front page news.

Makes sense to us!

Bon soir, Patrick!

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The word leaking out from inside One Herald Plaza is that an executive from McClatchy will be in town on Wednesday.

I have no idea what he’s going to say but whatever it is it probably won’t be well received by an already demoralized staff.

Sources also tell me that more buyoffs are in the works but they’re not ruling out layoffs either.

The number that keeps coming up is “15,” as in a 15% overall cut of the workforce at the Herald. But one source tells me there isn’t anyone left now to produce a decent paper.

Stay tuned.

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