Break Out Santeria Rooster: Miami Herald Cuts Another 119 Jobs

Perhaps it is time for the remaining Miami Herald employees to break out the Santeria rooster once again. Just three months after announcing job cutbacks in June, the Miami Herald has just announced that it is axing another 119 employees (emphasis mine):

Three months after announcing plans to trim 250 jobs, the Miami Herald Media Co. said Tuesday it is cutting another 119 positions, or about 10 percent of the remaining workforce.

Eighty full- and part-time employees will leave the company, while other, vacant jobs will be eliminated, Miami Herald President and Publisher David Landsberg said.

The company will ask for volunteers to leave and accept a severence package, but some of the cuts will be involuntary layoffs, Landsberg told employees in a memo Tuesday.

The cuts will include 23 positions in The Miami Herald newsroom, bringing the journalism staff to a total of 275.

But Landsberg and Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said the paper is not eliminating sections or drastically cutting space for news articles, as other newspapers have done.

''It should be pretty much invisible to our readers,'' Gyllenhaal said. ``We're not reducing sections or the size of the paper.''

Tuesday's move was part of a national plan by The Miami Herald's parent, The McClatchy Co., to cut its workforce by 10 percent, or roughly 1,150 full-time equivalent employee positions.

McClatchy said about half the cuts will come ``through voluntary programs and managed attrition.''

Meanwhile, California-based McClatchy said it is cutting its third-quarter dividend to nine cents a share, from 18 cents the previous quarter. The company said the move will free up cash to repay debt.

The announcements came after shares in McClatchy closed Tuesday at $3.40, up two cents on the day but down from more than $60 before the company's 2006 purchase of Knight Ridder.

Neither McClatchy nor The Miami Herald are alone in their troubles. The entire newspaper industry has been taking a beating, first from increased competition from the Internet, then from the economic slowdown and the slumping real estate market.

Growth in Internet readership and advertising have been rapid, but not fast enough to eliminate the need for staff cuts.

Invisible? You mean like the failure of the Miami Herald (along with the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post) to report on the only really notable thing Joe Biden said when he recently visited South Florida and announced plans to possibly prosecute Bush administration officials should Obama be elected? 

Here is the reaction from one reporter to the latest cutback announcement, according to Bob Norman's The Daily Pulp:

We’re past all the stages of death and mourning and denial and rage and we're now in the acceptance mode.  We’re building f---ing Edsels in Detroit here. Some of us are going to do this until we die. Or until they kill us. And it looks they’re killing more of us now.

Meanwhile, the remaining Herald employees might consider replacing that artificial Santeria rooster with the real deal. Your humble correspondent has been informed that the Orisha priest, Babalawo, believes that the Santeria prophet, Orunmila, is displeased with cheap copies. That, along with with the large servings of biased news that alienates its readers, might be the reason why the Herald is continuing to face big cutbacks.

H/T: Herald Watch

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P.J. Gladnick's picture