Tag Archives: Newhouse

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: Birmingham News could face layoffs by February

Owner Advance Pubs ends long-standing no-layoffs policy

Advance Publications’ Newhouse Newspapers will end its policy of no layoffs, announcing the change to staffs today, including the Birmingham News. The pledge ends in six months, meaning the staff at the News (as well as the Press-Register in Mobile and the Huntsville Times) could face layoffs by February.

Media of Birmingham has learned that staffers with at least 5 years at the Birmingham News were offered buyouts, two weeks salary for every year (six month maximum).

In June, the News cut salaries 5 percent to 8 percent, ended furloughs and offered a round of buyouts.

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Read more Birmingham media updates.

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