The first shoe has dropped in the Plain Dealer's latest round of layoffs. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports that it's still unclear just how many people have lost their jobs or how many more are due to be cut.
This past April, the Plain Dealer's corporate parent, Advance Publications, announced that it intended to reduce PD staff and delivery days due to what it said were economic challenges and a changing media landscape. The first round of cuts came Wednesday night, when newspaper support personnel in areas such as marketing, finance and building services got phone calls from management. Newspaper Guild Chair Harlan Spector says it was brutal.
HARLAN SPECTOR: I feel terrible for these folks who had to sit at home and wait by the phone. The Newspaper Guild has urged the company to reconsider how they go about these layoffs. We think that, at the very least, a person has a right to be told face-to-face that their job's being eliminated.
Kent State Journalism professor Jan Leach says the public probably doesn't realize the impact of these job cuts.
JAN LEACH: The producers are the ones you would normally think about --- those would be the reporters, the photographers, the people who do the art and the illustrations, and the editors who make the assignments and that kind of thing. But, there is a huge support staff, as well.
Such as the people who sell advertising, the staffers who run and maintain the printing presses, and the people who troubleshoot malfunctioning computers. The paper has yet to reveal exactly how many of these jobs were cut. An e-mail sent by management to PD staff simply referred to the need to "realign the workforce" due to changes in the news industry.
News Guild Chair Harlan Spector predicts the next layoffs – of reporters and other content producers - are coming soon.
HARLAN SPECTOR: We're expecting to hear in late July or early August; they haven't given us a date yet.
But, Spector expects the announcement will come before the scheduled August 5th reduction of the newspaper's daily delivery schedule.