Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zell Readies the Ax

Word on the street is that the Orlando Sentinel will announce another round of staff cuts next week. Not clear yet on how many people will be pushed out the door and how many from the newsroom. However, my best guess is that it will particularly painful. I've heard numbers as high as 40.

If you've been following Tribune news, no doubt you've watched the ax move from newspaper to newspaper. The Baltimore Sun, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune all have announced big staff reductions. You knew that shiny, sharp instrument was going to make its way to Florida and I see no reason why the ax wouldn't come down just as hard here.

I'm going to single out just one newsroom department -- the editorial board -- to illustrate how bad things may get. When I joined the board in 2004 total staff came to 11. That included the editorial page editor, editorial writers, copy folks and the Insight editor (that section no longer exists).

If the cuts are as deep as I think they're going to be, the editorial page may end up with 3 to 4 people -- or about a third of its former staff. With the editorial page editor exiting, you may not even need to fill that post, since it's possible the department will fall under the Sentinel editor once again.

Stay tuned ...


Recovering said...

It's actually way worse than 40 -- there will be two rounds of layoffs, on the 14th and 21st, with the total number of jobs cut around 55. About 20 people so far have vounteered for buyouts, so that means about 30 people will be laid off. Most of the cuts are expected to come from the bureaus, as all zoned sections have been axed (except Lake) and other areas that will be hard hit include business, the public service team, the copy desk and random editors. Oddly, features is expected to remain intact. And even as these cuts are planned, management has already said there will likely be another wave of cuts come fall. Conclusion? If you work for the Sentinel, nobody is safe.
Also, if all this stuff is new to you, then you're really not that in the loop, are you??

Maria Padilla said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog - whoever you are. I have made the decision not to be anonymous, because as a former reporter and editor I know how important it to know who is "talking." too bad I can't say the same for you.

Second, I know, or have heard, more than I am letting on. But as a former reporter and editor who values credibility I am not putting it all out there.

So, to answer your point, I had heard about the bureau closings, etc. You are absolutely correct when you say that nobody is safe. The news industry is never going to be the same, my friend. It's not going to "recover" in any way you are familiar with.

Recovering said...

You say you know more information than you're letting on, so if it's true that you actually did know about the bureaus closing and the 50+ layoffs, then you published only half-truths on your blog. So which are you: clueless or misleading? Hmm. Sounds like a former Sentinel reporter to me.

Anonimo en Orlando said...

When I went through the MMIA course (I am not in Editorial) many years ago, we were told that the Newsroom and the Editorial Board were kept separated. This policy of ethics and standards was to ensure there wasn't the possibility of Editorial board opinions influencing, or give the public an appearance of influencing, the coverage of a news story.

If the Editorial Board were to fall under the Sentinel Editor, wouldn't this violate this ethical standard?