Newspaper Layoffs: Here We Go Again

The following email from Palm Beach Post Publisher Alex Taylor was posted by a kindly commenter below. Taylor sent it to the newsroom Tuesday afternoon, and in it he writes that this year is worse than the last and confirms there will be more layoffs. But he doesn't specify when they'll come or how many there will be (there's more suspense that way, you know). This follows news that another stressful reorganization is underway and last week's email in which Taylor urged employees to be positive with the public about how "exciting" a time it is to work at the Post, which has already been wracked by hundreds of layoffs. 


From: Taylor, Alex
Sent: Tue 7/14/2009 4:41 PM
To: All PBNI Employees
Subject: Changes


I was meeting with the senior management group today and we were discussing how difficult many of the changes this summer have been. Departmental mergers, budget cuts, outsourcing, etc. The most difficult thing, however, is the topic of layoffs. We came into this year hoping to avoid them, but after 2 quarters of sobering reality that this year has been even worse than last year, we find ourselves going through some layoffs - with some more still ahead. This is a painful, difficult process no matter where you are, but after the extensive cut backs of last year, it's even more of an open wound here at Palm Beach Newspapers.

We've tried to be as candid as possible in communicating the details of the cuts we're making this year, but we're also trying to be cautious because we don't want to make it sound worse than it is, nor do we want to understate it. We agreed that despite our best efforts, people want more details and they want more candid information. So I've decided to host a meeting to specifically address the topic of layoffs and how those changes are going to affect our future. The meeting will be this Friday morning at 11 in the auditorium.

The goal is to provide more detail and context for all of you and I will answer ANY question you have. Just to give you a bit of a preview, I have heard rumors that 200 people are about to be laid off. I'm not sure where that came from, but it's totally false. What we're doing this year is cutting a little more from every department to make up for a soft revenue market. We're not trying to get wildly rich in the process, nor are we preparing to sell this business (another rumor). We're just trying to break even and create a business model that is stable, sustainable and can serve this community going forward. I am very confident that is going to happen.

We work hard to protect each and every job, and every cut is difficult for myself and those making these decisions. We want to live up to our stated value of treating our employees with respect and dignity. The best way I know to do that is to lay it all out for you and share the details of what each department is working on. The more we can communicate the better, and I think you'll be surprised to learn that it's not nearly as bad as everyone is assuming. This year has been sobering, but the changes we're making will be worth it and once we get through it, the financial future is finally beginning to look better.

I look forward to speaking with you.


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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman