Thursday, August 28, 2008

Contract renegotiation at the Post-Dispatch

The Post-Dispatch unit of St. Louis Newspaper Guild Local 36047 voted to begin early and expedited bargaining for a new contract. The current five-year contract expires in June 2009. Negotiations will start in September. Most Lee papers are not union shops, but with "expedited bargaining" both sides take a limited number of issues.

The guild's top 4 issues, in order as outlined on its blog: Job security, health care, wages and retirement benefits.

Lee's top issue: Cost control and savings.

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement during expedited bargaining, regular bargaining will start in the spring.

Missoulian lays off 7

The Missoulian laid off 7 employees. The first to go were a husband and wife -- environmental reporter John Cramer and business reporter Pamela J. Podger have twin sons and recently bout a house in Missoula. They had been at the paper for about a year. Five others were laid off, including advertising and circulation department employees.

This follows other layoffs at Lee papers. I know more are coming -- details will be published as soon as I get them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Suburban Journals lays off 15

The Paper Cuts blog says 15 employees were laid off last week at the Suburban Journals of St. Louis. The layoff blog has the memo from the Journals publisher.

In the past this month, layoffs were made at 3 Idaho papers (North Side News, Gooding County Leader and Southern Idaho Press), The Times of Northwest Indiana and The Lincoln Journal Star.

No more holiday papers?

It's an idea CEO Mary Junck mentioned in an Editor & Publisher story:

Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck told the Cribb Greene Report, "There was a time when no one published on holidays. Maybe we should go back to that concept. We're considering the idea now." Eliminating some sections on certain days of the week — or even dropping entire Monday or Tuesday editions — are other ideas she might consider.

Just remember: You still wouldn't get the holiday off, just the day before the holiday. (Although dropping the Monday paper would give everyone Sunday off.) Thoughts?

Changes to the Post-Dispatcch

A reader tipped us to a letter from the Post-Dispatch's editor and managing editor outlining the changes coming this week to the paper.

It includes moving comics, advice columnists and puzzles to a 4-page daily section; cutting 3 daily features sections (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays); cutting TV grids; revamping a couple of features sections; combining the metro and A sections on Mondays.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Editor shuffle at the Post-Dispatch

From what I've heard, the business department has taken a big hit lately and lost several talented people -- editors and reporters.

We are excited to announce two staff changes that we believe will accelerate our efforts to sharpen our local news report.

ADAM GOODMAN is now deputy managing editor for Metro and Business News.

Adam has terrific credentials for this expanded leadership role and one of our priorities in making this move is strengthening our coverage through collaboration between business and metro reporters. Adam shares our commitment to strong local business coverage.

In coming weeks, Adam will be assessing the overall structure of the two departments and it is possible some assistant editors will be supervising teams that include metro and business reporters.

Adam brings to the position deep familarity with the St. Louis business world, thanks to his many years as a business reporter and editor. His beats included real estate, banking, aerospace and defense. He moved to Metro in the late 1990s as an assistant editor and subsequently has had stints as environmental reporter, science editor and deputy metro editor. He was named assistant managing editor in 2005.

When we recently asked Adam to lead our coverage of the Anheuser-Busch saga, he swiftly organized an expanded team of business and metro reporters and editors and helped them identify and execute a series of smart enterprise stories while also keeping on top of breaking developments. The resulting coverage distinguished us as a leading source on this important story.

IRV HARRELL moves to join the Metro/Business team as an assistant editor. Irv will continue to spend about a third of his time leading our newsroom recruiting efforts. Irv will assume his new duties shortly after returning from vacation later this month.

Irv knows his way around a newsroom: he's been a designer, a copy editor, assistant news editor and night city editor and in addition to the Post-Dispatch has worked at several newspapers in Florida, including The Tampa Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Until last year, he worked on Adam's team as politics editor.

Please join us in congratulating Adam and Irv.

-- Arnie Robbins & Pam Maples

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lee dividend reported

The quarterly cash dividend is out! 19 cents per share!

Makes me glad I never bought Lee stock. Did you?

How much was your raise?

Sadly, the news of Mary Junck's raise escaped me when it was "announced" last month. Blogger Alan Mutter and the Motley Fool caught it, though:

Lee Enterprises' (NYSE: LEE) CEO Mary Junck gained a 17.8% increase to her pay, to about $3.4 million, even though Lee's stock price was chopped in half during the year.

Something to keep in mind as Lee cuts jobs and closes papers.

Lee's stock is now worth less than $4. Slightly more than a gallon of gas. About the price of a meal at McDonald's. Or a cup of coffee at Starbucks (if you still have one in your neighborhood).

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Post-Dispatch announces metro changes

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is moving things around. A source at the paper says the A-section and Metro will soon become one section on Mondays -- which is why lottery numbers and a column are moving to A2 every day. This note appeared in the paper and on The Editors' Desk blog:

Dear readers:
In coming days, you’ll notice some changes in your Metro section.

To better reflect our regional commitment, beginning Monday all of our local-news sections will come under the “Metro” banner. You will continue to see a section packed full of the most significant and interesting news and features from your area and the entire region. And you can still expect that Post-Dispatch reporters stationed in our offices in St. Charles County, St. Louis County, St. Louis city, Jefferson County and the Metro East will dig up the biggest stories in our area — with additional help from P-D reporters in our Jefferson City, Springfield, Ill., and Washington D.C., bureaus.

Beginning Aug. 11, all lottery results and jackpot information will be moving to Page 2 of the A-section. This should make the numbers even easier to find and in the same place each day. Also on Aug. 11, columnist Bill McClellan will take his wit to Page 2 of the A-section as well. Bill’s new — and conveniently located — home recognizes his long-standing contribution to the community. Bill’s column will continue to run every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

We also are excited to announce the addition of Susan Weich as a regionwide Metro columnist beginning Wednesday. St. Charles County readers have been enjoying Susan’s columns since December, but we now want to share Susan’s keen eye for suburban stories and issues with all of our readers. Her column will run in the Metro section on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Sylvester Brown’s column will continue to run in the Metro section on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

As always, we want you to know we value your support and suggestions. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 314-340-8258 or at, or contact deputy metro editor/suburban Marcia Koenig, 314-340-8142,

Adam Goodman
Assistant Managing Editor/Metro

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lee closes 3 more Idaho papers

Three Idaho papers -- the North Side News in Jerome, the Gooding County Leader in Gooding and the Southern Idaho Press in Burley -- will stop publishing in two weeks, laying off 14 employees. Readers of those three papers can get zoned editions of the Times-News instead. (The Times-News is not adding to its staff.)

The last day for the Southern Idaho Press is Aug. 16. The last day for the North Side News and Gooding County Leader, both weeklies, will be Aug. 14.

In April, Lee sold the Wood River Journal in Hailey and closed two weeklies, the Lincoln County Journal in Shoshone and the Minidoka County News in Rupert.

NWI Times lays off 12

The Times of Northwest Indiana laid off 12 people today.
  • Business editor Bill Bero
  • Sports columnist John O'Malley
  • Society columnist Adele Mackanos
  • Community reporter Barb Martin
  • Web designer Bobby Koskinas
  • 2 niche products employees
  • 5 advertising employees
Another 15 open positions will not be filled. Rumor is, the severance package will be the same as at the Journal Star -- one week's pay for each year there. The paper will also cut sections of the paper, cut back on zoning

In a story in Saturday's Times (it looks like it wasn't published online?), publisher Bill Masterson Jr. said paper is a healthy business -- the "fastest-growing English-language daily newspaper in the United States." Of course, he also said Lee's third-quarter print ad revenue dropped 8.2 percent; CNN says it was 10.1 percent.