Friday, December 5, 2008

Rumor becomes reality

In a matter of days, disputed rumors over layoffs at the Los Angeles Daily News have suddenly become sickeningly real.

An anonymous DN staffer described the details in an email:

Longtime prep sportswriter Gerry Gittleson, 11-year film critic Glenn Whipp and reporter Justino Aguila, who was a fairly recent hire, all got the hatchet. And Antelope Valley reporter Karen Maeshiro recently stepped down after the decision to no longer cover the AV. She was offered a reporting position, but would've had to commute from there every day. Her hand was essentially forced, making her decision a no-brainer.

Other news from today: The Travel section is folding. Pared-down travel news will, however, appear in Sunday's Travel writer Eric Noland and LANG Sports Editor Kevin Modesti, both longtime DN employees, are being reassigned to News as reporters.

The news is especially shocking, coming on the heels of what appeared to be a denial by MediaNews rep Jim Janiga, who said that although layoffs were likely to happen at some point, there were no immediate plans in place.

It's hard to comprehend why or how things could happen the way they are. Actions like this not only hurt the quality of the product, but hurt the morale of the employees who are already suffering through a cataclysmic industry shakeup. At a minimum, you deserve to be treated like more than an entry on a budget spreadsheet, that can be erased at will. You deserve respect, just like any other hardworking professional, and this is not how a credible employer does business.

What's uncertain now is how the layoffs will affect the employees and the newsroom at the DN. The contract is explicit: "... in the event of a subcontract which may reasonably result in the layoff of employees, the Employer shall notify the Guild within two weeks of anticipated action and bargain the effects on employees to be laid off."

So we need everyone to pay attention to the workload. If the layoffs result in a freelancer or other outside source picking up the slack, we'll need information and details in order to enforce the contract.


Anonymous said...

Why is it that we always believe Jim Janiga is telling the truth!!!

He talks out of both sides of his mouth!!

We need to stop believing anything that comes out of his mouth. His intentions are to break this paper down and profit from it.

And yes they are making a profit, just not enough to buy the Rocky Mountain News.

Anonymous said...

"If the layoffs result in a freelancer or other outside source picking up the slack, we'll need information and details in order to enforce the contract."

Really? That's what the power of the union boils down to? Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Looks like the gay rag Clout is gone too. Any others on the way out?

835 said...

Start saving your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters folks. The whip's gonna come down again early next year.

Anonymous said...

Any more layoffs coming THIS year?

Anonymous said...

Let me guess on an answer for the Layoffs.

Jim Janiga and Rich say we " have no plans for layoffs"

Translation: You got a pretty mouth.