Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lincoln Journal Star update

The layoffs at the Journal Star included eight people in the newsroom, four in advertising, three in consumer products and one online position. Each former employee will get only one week's pay for each year of service.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lincoln Journal Star lays off 16

The cuts have begun. Or, rather, according to the blog Paper Cuts, continue.

The Lincoln, Neb., paper laid off 16 employees -- eight people in the newsroom and eight people in other departments today to "reduce costs." Three were part-time employees, 13 were full-time. Any help tracking down the names of those laid off is appreciated:

In other news, Lee stock jumped 13 percent.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lee trades at 27-year low

Lee stock hit $2.87 on Monday -- the new low -- before "bouncing back" to close at $2.90. The company has been publicly traded for 30 years; that means it could set a new record low today! Or tomorrow!

From the AP story published Monday:

Lee shares slid 22 cents, or 7 percent, to $2.90. The stock earlier traded as low as $2.87.

Earlier this month, shares hit $2.99, their lowest point in at least 27 years.

Right now, the stock is up to $3.03. (Get the latest stock quote with that link.)

Lee plans to cut 5-7% this year

Lee recently reported its third quarter earnings. Or lack of. The biggest surprise was the 9.1 percent drop in online revenue. Content Bridges predicts those losses will mean more cuts at Lee:

What's going on with Lee's online growth number? Coming in at a negative 9.1%, it's a head-scratcher. We know that newspaper companies each bring their own unique accounting to print/online revenue allocations, and that could be an issue here. Or could be the upsell addiction, though Lee has put a lot of energy into transforming its sales as well. The next quarter's number will be fascinating to hear.

So you think current cuts are tough? Lee told us they cut 2.3% in expenses, this quarter 2008 compared this quarter 2007. But CEO Mary Junck added she plans additional expense cuts of 5-7% in the coming year. That could be lots of newsprint and jobs. McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt pegged further non-newsprint expense cutting at more than 10%. Other CEOs tell a similar story.