Thursday, April 10, 2008

LANG consolidation stumbles onward

Gary Scott, aka Reporter-G, and Paul Oberjuerge bring us the latest episode in MediaNews' ongoing cost-cutting regimen. It turns out that as bad as things are in L.A. county, they're arguably even bleaker for our inland brethren.

Despite countless failed and aborted attempts at consolidating production over the last two years, MediaNews remains determined to make it work - logistics, morale, and journalism itself be damned.

In a move that mirrors the migration of the Press-Telegram copy and design desks to Torrance, all pre-production functions for the inland-area newspapers are to be based out of the San Bernardino Sun, the eastern hub of Singleton's California empire.

It's interesting to note that although the response to the move itself isn't positive, most of the criticism isn't over the decision to shift the jobs, but how the company decided to implement the consolidation. Casual disregard and callow nonchalance, as always, are the order of the day. It's a disturbing indication of the corporate culture at MediaNews that nearly every communication between management and staff comes without warning, delivered always as an ultimatum, and never with even a modicum of respect. These are the people in the trenches, working for less money each year, who believe enough in quality journalism to keep coming to work and serving their communities despite all the obstacles. Without them, there is no newspaper.

Workers don't have a right to make decisions on corporate strategy, but they do have the right to a fair contract and working conditions. Employees have a perspective and knowledge that should be utilized. It could be that there's a better way to get things done, a way that someone who isn't familiar with the community or the day-to-day operations might not be aware of. These are our communities, and our livelihood, we want nothing more than a successful newspaper and a strong journalism industry.

That's why MediaNews employees all over are moving to assert their rights, and open a dialogue with the company.


Anonymous said...

This move mirrors not the migration of the PT copy desk to the Breeze, but the migration of your very own production department to Woodland Hills a year ago. How can you not know this? Or if you did, how can you not mention it?? The PT lost a lot of great prepress folks (about 15) last year and yet nobody has acknowledged that fact in this blog at all.

Len Cutler said...

I promise you, my intent was not to gloss over the loss of our prepress staff - which I was there for - but simply to put what's happening into terms that most folks would understand. The loss of our copy and design desks was a much more memorable moment for most casual observers. Is that fair? No it's not. But rather than focus on who got screwed worse, shouldn't we try to spend our time working together to try and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else?