Thursday, April 3, 2008

“It’s really, really bad right now” - UPDATED

That's the assessment of an anonymous Inland Valley Daily Bulletin employee, describing the morale of staffers after the latest round of downsizing swept through the Bulletin newsroom in this week's LA Weekly.

The bitter punchline is that through all the cuts, most (if not all) of the MediaNews papers have remained profitable - Southern California has certainly been a lucrative investment - and in some cases asset sales, like the sale of the Press-Telegram building, have actually netted the company tens of millions in windfall profit. Unfortunately those profits weren't enough to stave off even more firings, done for the sake of "saving money." I'm not aware of any newspaper in Singleton's stable that's ever lost a dime.

At this point, I'd like to say this is the last of the firings - many of the newsrooms are laughably empty, even during peak hours. It would seem that there's nothing left to cut. But we've all said that before, and we've been wrong every single time.


According to this article from, MediaNews' earnings for 2007 grew by 48 percent from last year, despite an 11% loss of revenue. Whether the declining profits and readship can be reversed or not - and I firmly believe they can - there is no arguing that MediaNews' cost cutting hasn't far outstripped their needs. It's the pursuit of immediate liquidity, not permanent solvency, that's fueling their firing frenzy, and to claim otherwise is simply a lie.

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