Mass Layoffs Imminent at Inquirer, Daily News? [UPDATE]

This afternoon at 4 p.m., members of the Newspaper Guild labor union will meet with Philadelphia Media Network, the company that owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and philly.com, at least until Ed Rendell takes over. According to a tip that came in this morning, as many as 50 editorial layoffs are expected, which seems like a suspiciously high number, considering that it would gut the papers. Management is also rumored to be considering forced attrition, i.e. putting their expensive, longtime editors on overnight shifts until they burn out.  Another source says that while layoffs are expected, the number will likely be much less and that buyouts will probably be on the table. PMN spokesman Mark Block was not immediately available for comment.

UPDATE 2/15 2:30 p.m.: This afternoon, Block emailed, “It would be inappropriate to speculate, or comment at this time regarding personnel related announcements that might occur in the future at Philadelphia Media Network.”

UPDATE 2/15 6:30 p.m.: Unfortunate news out of 400 North Broad Street. In its plans to “unify the newsrooms” of its papers and website, Philadelphia Media Network plans to eliminate 37 positions from the editorial and art staffs, from reporters and writers to make-up artists and cartoonists. Before layoffs, there will be a window to join the “voluntary separation program,” aka buyouts, which ends on February 29th. After that, layoffs will begin, based on seniority, meaning that 1998-looking philly.com has no hope of improving, since people who existed before the Internet was relevant will keep their jobs while newer hires are sent pounding.

  • stephankent1

    “After that, layoffs will begin, based on seniority, meaning that 1998-looking philly.com has no hope of improving, since people who existed before the Internet was relevant will keep their jobs while newer hires are sent pounding.”

    What an offensive crock. So we mature folks have no hope of “getting” the net? Tell that to Tim Berners-Lee or the late Steve Jobs or Tim Cook or any of those mature types who invented tech world you kids were born into. It’s more likely us old folks are wise enough to realize that although current corporate owners think kids and social media will save them–or at least allow them to ride their naive backs into retirement–we know that it’s only great journalism and dogged public service that will keep us relevant. That takes brains, work ethic and experience. The ability to write a quick brief with your thumbs and tweet a link to your friends ain’t going to cut it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1485855404 daniel

    Well I guess I have to argee with Stephan Kent1 . Some of us older guys do “get the net”. Good content is ageless, and the technology is just a tool for disseminating it. I was working in IT in publishing when the first wave of computers replaced typewriters. And, no we didn’t fire the senior writers and editors just because they had to learn how to backspace and save a computerfile/ document !