Saturday, August 20, 2011
So that, above, is a letter that arrived at the homes of those who were "selected for Involuntary Termination" (read: You WIN!) along with a truly bizarre attachment that I'll get to in a moment. You can click on the image above to enlarge it and read it. I've read this sentence many times and I can only conclude that someone who somehow still has a job needs a remedial writing course:
The Company is providing information to you regarding class, unit or group considerd in the selection decision to you, as well as information regarding other classes, units, or groups similarly evaluated by higher levels of management.
Yeah, beats me, too. But what comes after this is even stranger: It's a three-page list of every newsroom job and the age of the person who occupies it. There are no names, but it's not difficult to figure out who's who in many cases. Here's a couple of examples:
As you can see, I'm being very selective here. I could post the entire list with everybody's ages, but there's no need for that. The newsroom leaders, however, who expect every reporter to ask the ages of most figures in stories, cannot claim any sort of vanity or privacy in the matter.
Mostly, though, I'm trying to understand the purpose of distributing this. They're giving those who were fired a list of everybody's ages. Is this a pre-emptive legal defense against someone who might sue them on grounds they were terminated based on age? It seems really extraordinary to go this far, but I'm not a corporate lawyer and haven't had a full-time job since Clinton, so I don't know.
It was fascinating, though, and I'll do some age analysis in a moment.
But first, the document answers a few questions we've been wondering. Who, exactly, was fired in Thursday's newsroom purge? Here's that list:
So that's 12, every one of whom was on my list, so I did a complete job. My list was longer -- 22 names -- because it includes the fired from non-newsroom departments as well as a few who lost their jobs over the past week or two, too. Thus, I stand by my reporting and accept that, above, as the official count for the newsroom itself for that one day of carnage.
Again, I don't see the need to publish the ages of those fired or other those who kept their gigs. But I found some interesting data therein nonetheless.
This document indicates the newspaper now has 107 newsroom employees, although that includes four non-journalist support staff jobs. Of this, there remain 43 "reporters" or "senior reporters" across every section including their weekly publications such as CityLife and the View neighborhood sections. That's about one reporter for every 46,511 people in Las Vegas. I do not know what the national average is or the average in other cities, so I can't put that number in context.
* The average age of those who lost their jobs on Friday was 51.4.
* The oldest newsroom employee is a 69.1-year-old columnist.
* The youngest newsroom employee is 20.4-year-old photographer.
* There are five staff photographers and two photo editors left, meaning the department lost 36% of its employees and 44% of their shooters.
* The paper now has just one graphic art illustrator on staff. If that person's on vacation or out sick, I guess there are no charts or graphics in the paper?!?
* The average age of the R-J's reporters is 42.5.
* The youngest reporter is 22.3, the oldest is 63.9.
* This list indicates there are four columnists. I assume they include Norm Clarke, John L. Smith, Jane Ann Morrison and, well, I don't know. It's confusing because there are clearly more columnists, see:
I guess many of these folks -- such as Howard Stutz and Mike Weatherford -- are counted as reporters or maybe "senior reporters." And I imagine folks like Vin Suprynowicz and Sherm Frederick are freelancers or contractors of some sort with their Sunday pieces.