‘Brave Words’ in the Face of Layoffs

We noted the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s layoffs yesterday. It goes without saying that layoffs are terrible whatever the industry, and we wish the best to those who were dismissed.

But don’t worry! Because the hard times in newspapers — or, at least, the Little Rock paper — are only temporary!

This, according to comments in the Democrat-Gazette’s newspaper story, printed today, in good ol’ comforting paper-and-ink newsprint. Managing Editor David Bailey told the newspaper staff that the DG isn’t experiencing a “newspaper problem.” The cuts are tied to the economy, and once the economy improves, the paper will staff up again.

[Executive Editor] Griffin Smith told the newspaper’s staff that Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter E. Hussman told him, ‘We’re going to have to scale down, and when things get better, we’re just going to have to build it back up.”

“Those are brave words that most publishers aren’t saying,” he said.

Brave, only in that they’re not remotely possible!

Can anyone imagine newspapers, say, next year, the year after, building back fat newsrooms to be supported by print advertising? Because that’s the scenario we’re apparently talking about with the Democrat-Gazette, which continues to champion print circ numbers (“Not sinking as much as they other guys!”) and has only a limited Web strategy. Meanwhile, it’s cut people from its core news product and launched expensive niche magazine products.

Judging by this story, some haven’t yet faced the fact that the fundamental model for daily newspapers, as we have traditionally known them, doesn’t work anymore. For anyone.

“The economy” is only part of the problem. And frankly, it’s the not the worst part.


Another observation from a Twittering Werner Trieschmann, who says, “Newspapers will find that when the economy finally recovers they will have even more competition — from the people they let go.” Yeah, that sounds about right.

And finally, Warren Buffett, on his “wonderful” idea.

More Newsroom Cuts at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This time, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was out first with news today of its latest round of newsroom cuts, posted on its Web site here. Others, including The Arkansas Project, Arkansas Business’ Mark Hengel, the Arkansas News Bureau and the Arkansas Times, quickly followed up.

From Hengel’s report, this from General Manager Paul Smith:

The poor economy has been “pretty widespread, and it sure hasn’t missed us,” Smith said. Smith did not disclose how much revenue has fallen.

“We’ll have some more staff reductions until the economy improves,” he said. Cuts are taking place at the paper’s Little Rock headquarters and in northwest Arkansas, where Wehco publishes the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Managers are informing employees Monday.

Affected employees will receive pay through May 18 and may choose to work through the date, according to a Democrat-Gazette report.

More here, and an update after the jump.

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Another Arkansas Twitter Update

Just when we thought this thing had peaked, new Twitter users keep piling in. Admittedly, some in the list below have been around for few days, but we’ve not had a chance to call them out yet.

Consider yourselves called.

This week: A preponderance of THV-ers. I guess our quick seminar worked!

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross: http://twitter.com/RepMikeRoss

Innovate Arkansas, a program helping Arkansas entrepreneurs bring ideas and products to market: http://twitter.com/innovateAR

Jonathan Dismang, state representative: http://twitter.com/dismang

Werner Trieschmann, former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writer, editor; playright – http://twitter.com/wernertplays

Ross Cranford, CJRW ad man, iPhone early adopter: http://twitter.com/rosscranford

Tom Brannon, KTHV – http://twitter.com/wxrunt

Becca Buerkle, KTHV morning show producer – http://twitter.com/beccabuerkle

Meredith Mitchell, KTHV – http://twitter.com/THV_Weathergirl

Neil Sommerlatte, KTHV – http://twitter.com/NeilSommerlatte

Jessica Duff, KTHV Web reporter – http://twitter.com/jduff84

Rob Hatfield, KTHV director – http://twitter.com/kthvdirector

THV This Morninghttp://twitter.com/THVThisMorning

And of course, you can see more in our ever-expanding, unwieldy, unorganized Arkansas Twitter Guide.