Sunday, February 8, 2009

R-J Not Immune To Vegas' or Media's Economic Misery

It's no secret that both Las Vegas and the media at large are suffering acutely in this recession. But while the Review-Journal reports regularly on the latest firings and cutbacks in the broadcast media in this city, they do not report on their own fiscal woes.

Turns out, the R-J has recently informed its employees that there will be no more matching of the 401(k), is forcing employees to take accumulated vacation time and is asking some folks to take a few days off without pay. So far, no newsroom-wide cuts of a similar nature seem to have occurred at the Las Vegas Sun, although unsurprisingly some positions have been left vacant.

These are certainly not unusual moves. Employees at the Gannett media chain,
the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, have been forced to take a week off unpaid. The Orange County Register has laid off 210 people. The New York Times has had buyouts and sold 6.4 percent of the company to a Mexican billionaire to stay afloat. NPR cut a bunch of folks and ended several shows, including Weekend America and Day To Day, the loss of which Miles particularly grieves. There's even a depressing but riveting Twitter feed called The Media Is Dying.

So there's no aspersions to be cast here. The R-J folks are clearly trying to do what they can in a terrible climate to avoid having to lay anyone off.
They echo, in fact, some decisions made last week by Wynn Resorts. I hope they can. The newspaper was already pathetically understaffed in the first place. Maybe that will turn out to be fortunate in this extraordinary economic moment.


mike_ch said...

Oh thank heavens Weekend America is going away. "Almost news, almost informative, but not really" is a bad format.

@themediaisdying has a Canadian twin at @canmedialayoffs. Though even the mighty BBC is cutting back it's expenses (though some might say simply pulling away from excesses and risks they shouldn't have been taking in the first place), it seems like the only companies that aren't seeing doom and gloom all over are the taxpayer-funded state broadcasters who exist as a public service.

Gee, maybe someday somebody in this country will notice that.