Palm Beach Post Creating "Job Teams"

The Palm Beach Post is falling deeper into corporate hell.

Oh it sounds okay. Management is calling for reporters ("thoughtful, energetic, dedicated people with team skills") to volunteer for something called "Job Teams." These teams will meet to "establish job descriptions for all newsroom staff" and a "companywide wage and salary program."

They'll keep a journal and get to do some "exercises with HR" too. C'mon, who doesn't need a workout every now and then?

As you read Editor John Bartosek's gobbledy-goof-filled email to staff below, keep in mind that the newspaper just cut nearly about a quarter of its staff, decimating the newsroom and demoralizing those that remained. Some wonder if this isn't just a way to help management figure out who will be included in the next round of bloodletting.

Here's the email:

On Tue, 16 Sep 2008 09:43:40 -0400, "John Bartosek" wrote:

Job Teams


I'd like your help in establishing job descriptions for all newsroom staff.

This is a big project, and it's going to take some time. Job analysis and description is the first step in establishing a companywide wage and salary program. This administration would establish pay ranges for 'like' positions across the company, not just in the newsroom. So it's important to you, and it's important to me.

Here's the plan:

I'm seeking volunteers: Thoughtful, energetic, dedicated people with team skills willing to participate in group discussions. We'll hear a presentation and do some exercises with HR to get started. The teams will be cross-departmental, small enough to keep meeting-arrangements simple and to focus the discussion and work. (Example: 6 reporters representing Breaking News, Features, Sports and Biz.)

You'll have examples of job descriptions from other papers. Your task is to break down our jobs into key components such as 'knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies, primary and secondary tasks and responsibilities, physical requirements, etc.' (You'll learn the differences in all those.)

You'll do some recording or daily logging of your work and your colleagues'.

You'll analyze and rank the work by importance to our company's five priorities. You'll help us set expectations.

You won't have a blank slate because there will be a template for PBNI job descriptions, and each one throughout the building will look the same and have many of the same categories. However, all jobs are different, and I want your help in building out the specifics on ours. Top editors will review your work and discuss any changes with you.

Your colleagues will know you're part of this team, and you should be ready and open to discussing your work with them. I want this project built on a wide base of support.

If you're interested, please email Tami Tolley by Weds., Sept. 24 with one graf on why you¹d like to do this, and any team experience or skills you have already.

Thanks. I'm looking forward to getting this started.


J. Bart Bartosek Editor The Palm Beach Post

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