Mass Layoffs in Mainstream Media

For decades, the media have been the most indispensable tool for wholesale mass programming and mind control. The machinery is very effective in promoting multiple preoccupations that mask the essentials and relevant.

Contrary to its perceived purpose, it has deterred the intellectual progress of humanity by actively devoting most of its time on the mediocre, baloney and deliberate half-truths.

Mainstream media outlets are owned by Fiat Bankers, i.e. those inbred families that have accumulated money by producing money. The journalists that worked for them sold themselves so they could sustain their lifestyles. And when the bankers are no longer the gods they once thought to be, why need the media anymore?

Why would they continue banking on these prostitutes whose antics are no longer palatable, whose imagined credibility are no longer effectively delivering the canned and scripted news of the day?

It’s time to close shop.

‘Difficult yet necessary’: CNN cuts 8% of staff

Published time: October 16, 2014 02:35
Reuters / Mark Makela
Reuters / Mark Makela

Major layoffs are starting to hit Turner Broadcasting, with hundreds reportedly losing their jobs at CNN and HLN. In one case, an entire division has been axed.

So far, more than 300 people have lost their jobs – roughly eight percent of CNN’s workforce – according to Capital New York. Offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC were affected.

Among the affected employees were those involved in the production of several television shows. For example, Christiane Amanpour’s entire New York City staff was laid off – although the London-based correspondent will still retain workers based overseas.

HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell and her staff were also made redundant, according to a report by The Wrap.

CNN’s entire entertainment news division – which is responsible for covering topics like awards shows – was also shut down. Some staff were reportedly moved to other departments, while others lost their jobs completely.

While about 130 people accepted buyouts from Turner in exchange for stepping down, another 170 were made redundant, according to Capital New York.

“The changes this week are difficult yet necessary,” CNN said in a statement. “Out of respect for our colleagues directly impacted, we won’t be commenting on specific people or programs.”

However, many more layoffs are expected, since company executives have said that some 1,475 positions will be eliminated over the next few weeks.

Jeff Zucker (Reuters / Danny Moloshok)

Jeff Zucker (Reuters / Danny Moloshok)

The layoffs “are at all levels of the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world,” Turner Broadcasting CEO John Martin said in a letter to employees, as quoted by CNN Money.

“Those whose jobs are impacted will receive every consideration and the respect they are due, starting with severance pay for transition,” Martin continued. “Whatever their job title, business unit or location, they have contributed to the success story that is Turner Broadcasting, and they leave with our thanks and sincere best wishes.”

Notably, news of the layoffs comes as CNN continues to post profit margins between 30 and 55 percent, according to the Pew Research Center’s Jesse Holcomb. However, viewership has declined since the 2008 presidential election, and revenue from digital media has yet to indicate the company can rely on it heavily in the future.

“CNN isn’t alone,” Holcomb wrote. “All three major cable news channels have seen their audiences decline in recent years. MSNBC’s prime-time viewership has declined four percent over the same period in 2013, and 17 percent during the day. Fox News Channel, while growing slightly in prime time (two percent), has lost five percent of its daytime audience.”

Holcomb added that CNN’s impressive digital numbers – 42 million unique monthly visitors in 2013 – mean the station could have a bright future ahead of it, but that online revenues would need to increase significantly for that to happen.

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Turner to reduce headcount by 10%

October 6, 2014: 6:08 PM ET

john martin turner
Turner CEO John Martin said the cuts “are at all levels” of the company’s many businesses in 18 locations worldwide.

Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of CNN, will cut its total workforce by about 10% in the coming weeks through a mix of buyouts, layoffs and other measures, the company said Monday.

The reductions are part of a broader effort to save money and refocus investment, known internally as Turner 2020.

The company said about 1,475 positions — out of 14,000 full-time positions worldwide — would be eliminated in the coming weeks.

Within CNN Worldwide, where the workforce totals roughly 3,500, about 300 positions will be cut, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plan, totaling 8.5%.

CNN Worldwide includes CNN’s U.S. and International television channels, HLN, CNN Digital, and other ventures.

About 130 of the CNN reductions are being achieved through voluntary buyouts, the person said.

A buyout program for Turner staffers age 55 and older with ten-plus years at the company was announced in August.

The remainder of the CNN positions, about 170, will be cut through layoffs.

Along with CNN, Turner owns cable channels like TNT, TBS, and the Cartoon Network. The headcount reductions there will also come from both buyouts and layoffs.

The eliminations “are at all levels of the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world,” Turner CEO John Martin said in a memorandum to staffers.

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Turner media lays off or buys out nearly 1,500 employees, cutting workforce by 10 percent

“Those whose jobs are impacted will receive every consideration and the respect they are due,” assures Turner CEO John Martin
By Matt Bradwell   |   Oct. 7, 2014 at 7:04 AM

CNN founder Ted Turner. UPI/Jim Ruymen

| License Photo

ATLANTA, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of CNN, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network, announced Monday it will layoff 1,475 employees, cutting 10 percent of the media conglomerate’s total workforce.The eliminated positions “are at all levels of the company’s news, entertainment, kids, young adult and sports networks and businesses, as well as corporate functions, in 18 Turner locations around the world,” according to a statement released by Turner CEO John Martin.Roughly two-thirds of the employees bought out or laid off worked in Turner’s Atlanta headquarters, which Martin assured “remains [Turner’s] largest employee base.”

“Beyond people and infrastructure, our history and heritage are there [in Atlanta]. So is a big part of our future.”

Martin also said that Turner took steps to ensure every affected former employee is taken care of in the face of Turner’s restructuring.

“Those whose jobs are impacted will receive every consideration and the respect they are due, starting with severance pay for transition. Whatever their job title, business unit or location, they have contributed to the success story that is Turner Broadcasting, and they leave with our thanks and sincere best wishes.”

The announcement comes hours after Turner and the NBA, in conjunction with ESPN, renewed their multi-billion-dollar broadcast deal through 2025.

New York Times Plans to Eliminate 100 Jobs in the Newsroom

Tampa Bay Times cuts staff pay, hints at layoffs

The Tampa Bay Times will cut staff pay 5 percent, Times Publishing Company CEO Paul Tash tells staffers in a letter Thursday.

The company will also cap severance payments to employees who leave voluntarily at eight weeks’ pay, unless they resign by Oct. 1, in which case the maximum severance is 13 weeks’ pay. The letter hints at layoffs: “After these voluntary departures, we will take stock of the company’s ongoing staff patterns and needs,” Tash writes.

He continues:

 If you are uncertain about your standing with the Times, this is a good time for a frank conversation with your supervisor. If this long, difficult stretch has tested your commitment to the Times or the newspaper business, this is a good time to consider your options.

Poynter owns the Tampa Bay Times.

The Times said in March it planned buyouts in advance of job reductions. The paper cut pay 5 percent in 2009, when it was known as the St. Petersburg Times. It also cut staff pay 5 percent in 2011 and laid off staff the next month. It ended the second 5 percent cut in March 2012.

The Times also announced Thursday it had sold the Tramor Cafeteria to a company that plans to make it into a beer garden. While it was no longer an active cafeteria, “Times employees have used it as a place to eat lunch brought from home and for meetings,” Katherine Snow Smith reports.

“Staffers are welcome to use the break room on the 2nd floor, where other vending machines are located,” a memo to staffers about the Tramor sale says.

The Times also recently gave up the naming rights to an arena in Tampa.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, average Sunday circulation at the Tampa Bay Times in March 2014 was down 1 percent over the same month the year before, to 397,996. Average Monday-Friday circulation was down nearly 7 percent, to 317,270.

Full memo:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Newspaper publishing remains a tough business, especially this summer, and we are taking some tough measures to adapt our company’s operations to the reality of tight revenue.

First, starting with the week of September 29, there will once again be a 5 percent wage reduction for all fulltime Times staffers. (This will show up in paychecks on Friday, October 10.) We regret the necessity and will endeavor to restore full pay when conditions permit, as we did before. While the pay reduction is in place, staffers will receive one extra day of paid leave per quarter.

Second, we are capping the maximum paid severance at eight weeks, rather than the current 13. This change anticipates that as we lower expenses, there will be further job reductions.

In light of these changes, we will offer severance — under the current policy and based on their current pay — to staffers who resign by October 1 and leave the staff by October 10. (Note: This offer does not extend to advertising sales representatives or sales managers, because we do not anticipate job reductions in those ranks.)

After these voluntary departures, we will take stock of the company’s ongoing staff patterns and needs. If you are uncertain about your standing with the Times, this is a good time for a frank conversation with your supervisor. If this long, difficult stretch has tested your commitment to the Times or the newspaper business, this is a good time to consider your options.

It hurts my heart that for all the fine work we have done this year, and indeed over the last several years, there is more hard work ahead, including some disruption or hardship for people I care about. Against that disappointment, I draw encouragement from our extraordinary work and the great difference it makes every day in the lives of our readers, advertisers and communities.

Yes, this work is difficult, but it is also vital — not just for the Times, but for Tampa Bay. So for me there is only one option: to see it through.

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Gannett shifts some costs of USA Today layoffs to states

USA Today laid off about 70 people last month. Those who lost their jobs received a week of pay for every year of service, health care through the end of September and the vacation pay they’d already accrued for the year.

But as they turned in their laptops and cellphones, some USA Today journalists were surprised to find out who would pay a chunk of their farewell package: their state unemployment office.

USA Today is owned by Gannett, which doesn’t always pay laid-off workers a traditional severance. Instead, as in the case of the recent layoffs, it may provide a “transitional pay plan.” In one of these plans, Gannett, through a contractor called Total Management Solutions, makes up the difference between a worker’s old paycheck and their unemployment check for a certain amount of time.

Gannett didn’t make anyone available for an interview on this subject, but spokesperson Jeremy Gaines told Poynter in an email that “The Transitional Pay Plan (TPP) is one type of severance plan that Gannett offers. It provides one week of pay for every year of service to a maximum of 36 weeks, offset by an employee’s state unemployment benefit.”

If employees take on any paid work before the transitional pay period ends, their benefits — which are not subject to FICA deductions — are either reduced or lost. If they get a new job, the payments stop. Employees have to call in every week to their state unemployment office as well as to Total Management Solutions.

“They both interrogate you: ‘Are you employed?’” one former USA Today staffer who’d worked for the paper for more than 15 years told Poynter. “If you forget to call them one week you can presumably lose everything.”

The literature Gannett provides laid-off employees says the transitional pay benefit “provides a substantial benefit to employees as they transition from Gannett to a new job. It also allows Gannett to reduce its transition costs.”

“The taxpayers are paying part of my paycheck, basically,” said another laid-off staffer I spoke with, who said she found she could easily register with the Virginia Employment Commission online: “It’s not utter humiliation.” She found one way to take on freelance work and maintain her benefits while searching for a new gig: After speaking to her accountant, she set up an LLC and will ask freelance clients to pay her company instead.

Gannett has used this type of plan, also called supplemental employment benefits, since at least 2009. The New York Times reported on how Gannett used the plans with 1,400 people it laid off in July of that year. The distinction between transitional pay and severance, Richard Pérez-Peña wrote, was “lost on employees who say that the practical effect of being paid — or not — is the same, no matter how the program is labeled.”

Representatives of other newspaper companies, including Tribune, McClatchy and the New York Times Co., told Pérez-Peña in 2009 they provide more traditional severance packages. Attempts by Poynter to poll publishers on this point in 2014 did not meet any success.

USA Today’s newsroom doesn’t have a union, which is not uncommon among Gannett papers. (The Detroit Free Press, the Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle and the Indianapolis Star are among the few Gannett properties that have Guild representation.) But supplemental employment benefit plans developed in union-dominated companies in the ’50s, said Rick McHugh, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project. “The idea was really to have a guaranteed annual wage” at a time when layoffs were prevalent in the steel and auto industries, he said.

In many states, McHugh said, severance counts as remuneration and disqualifies workers from getting unemployment benefits: “That varies widely, but in the majority of states, say you worked there 10 years, and they’re giving you 10 weeks’ severance, you would lose 10 weeks’ unemployment benefit,” he said.

“I have to say this is a more beneficial approach than I would expect from Gannett,” said McHugh, who represented newspaper strikers concerning their unemployment insurance, including claims against Gannett, during the Detroit newspaper strike of 1995-2000. In the United States, he said, “with at-will employment, basically, there is no obligation to pay employees anything when you lay them off.”

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Report: Condé Nast to Lay Off 70 to 80 Employees

It would be the publishing house’s first big round of layoffs in years.

Edward Menicheschi at the CFDA Awards in June. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Edward Menicheschi at the CFDA Awards in June. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

It’s going to be another dour holiday season for the media industry. Following editorial layoffs at CNN and buyouts (which have yet to take effect) at the New York Times, news emerged Tuesday that Condé Nast is planning to lay off between 70 and 80 employees, primarily from its ad sales division. This would be its first significant layoff round since 2012.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that Edward Menicheschi — who was promoted in late August from Vanity Fair publisher to chief marketing officer and president of Condé Nast’s media group — may be at least partly responsible for the layoffs, driven by a tough advertising market for print.

A Condé Nast spokesperson declined to comment.

The company, which is owned by Advance Publications, has been cleaning up its books lately, spinning off Lucky magazine into a joint venture with Beachmint and selling off its unprofitable trade publication division, including Women’s Wear Daily and Footwear News, to Penske Media for $100 million.

Macworld shuts down print product, lays off staff

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