Tag Archives: economy

EXCLUSIVE: Birmingham News offers buyouts to employees across the board

The Birmingham News offered buyouts today to employees, the third round of buyouts in 16 months. Media of Birmingham has learned that all employees will be eligible this round, regardless of number of years of service or full-time or part-time status.

Birmingham NewsPast buyouts were limited to those with at least 5 years of service.

Our insiders tell us that full-time employees taking the buyout would receive 2 weeks of pay for every year of service, while part-time employees would receive 1 week of pay for every year of service. Both are capped at 6 months.

The daily newspaper is looking for “substantial staff reductions,” this time, but says no layoffs are planned for Feb. 6, when the Advance Publications’ “no layoff” pledge expires. The newspaper has not only faced an advertising shortfall because of the down economy but also a 10.8 percent drop in weekday circulation.

Earlier this year, the News cut benefits and required furloughs.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham News will look for a publisher to replace recently retired publisher Victor Hanson III.

Update Dec. 9: Another insider tells us that the buyouts have been offered at the other two Advance newspapers in Alabama: the Huntsville Times and the Press-Register in Mobile. Also, the buyouts are apparently limited to non-union employees.

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More changes at the top for the Birmingham News

Publisher retires, but what’s next?

Back in August, we reported that Advance Publications gave oversight responsibilities for the Birmingham News to new president Ricky Mathews. It appears that may have precipitated the latest major shakeup at the News, with publisher Victor Hanson III retiring Dec. 1. No word yet as to who will be tapped to replace him.

Hanson, the fourth family member to serve as publisher, will retire at age 53 after 8 years at the top position. He’s not the only Advance publisher leaving: Fred A. Stickel of the Oregonian in Portland retired in September at age 87 after 35 years. (Hat tip Inside Out McwFlint.)

One definite ripple effect from Mathews’ hire is a lawsuit by former (Mobile) Press-Register publisher Howard Bronson against Advance:

Bronson said Newhouse officials in July 2009 reneged on a longstanding job security pledge for the paper’s employees and in August told him that he had two weeks to leave.

A message left with Mark Newhouse was not immediately returned.

Lagniappe, Mobile’s alternative newspaper, has more details on Bronson’s lawsuit.

Media of Birmingham broke the story about Advance’s ending of the no-layoffs policy, often called the Newhouse Pledge. A former Press-Register reporter offers his take on the pledge’s demise.

Who will take over the News, Alabama’s largest newspaper? And will the News and Press-Register begin layoffs in February when the pledge expires?

EXCLUSIVE: Southern Living lays off editorial staffers

Southern LivingMedia of Birmingham has learned that Birmingham-based Southern Living has laid off five to seven staff members today on the editorial side of the magazine, including employees in the food, travel, home, art and photo departments. The cuts leave about 85 staff members in place in editorial.

The magazine lost 26.9 percent in ad sales comparing the first quarter of 2008 and 2009.

Southern Progress Corporation, which publishes Southern Living, shed 200 people in the last quarter of 2008, reducing its staff in Birmingham to 500 employees. It also closed Cottage Living magazine.

Unlike the previous rounds, we’ve heard that supervisors informed laid-off employees to pack and leave the building by 5 p.m. today, rather than the two to four weeks transition time given to eliminated employees. No word on whether they were offered severance packages.

Earlier this week, the Birmingham News reduced salaries and cut part-time positions.

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Update 6/9/09: After laying off a Homes staffer on Friday, Southern Living posted an opening for an assistant homes editor just four days later (June 9): [It appears the job listing was taken down shortly after discovery by magazine employees.]

Job Title
Assistant Homes Editor – Southern Living

TimeWarner Division
Time Inc.

Industry
Publishing

Location
United States – Alabama – Birmingham

Requisition #
112776BR

Position Type
Full Time

Posting Job Description

Southern Living is seeking an assistant editor to help produce stories and write for the Homes section.

Duties: Emphasis on writing and packaging our monthly homes line-up with a fresh voice that reaches out to a younger reader. Will also coordinate photography with photographers and stylists. Attend monthly story conferences, previews, and issue reviews. Develop a strong network of homes and/or garden contacts around the South. Stay abreast of homes topics and trends.

Requirements: 3-5 years experience at a lifestyle title or equivalent with top-notch writing, editing, and design skills. Ideal candidates will possess a four-year degree in English, Art, design or other related field. Hands-on experience in interior design or architecture a plus. Should have strong organizational skills. High energy, flexibility, and an ability to work as part of a creative team a must.

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Update 7/8/09: The ad returns a month later. The wording is exactly the same, except for the title, assistant/associate homes editor (instead of associate homes editor). Looks like the magazine is bargain hunting …

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