Mar 15, 2008

The Newhouse way

Another way to stay in print journalism might be to work for Newhouse, which owns the Oregonian and Times-Picayune, among other papers. From a story in the New York Post:

Donald Newhouse, the big boss of all the newspapers controlled by parent company Advance Publications, told Media Ink that the Star-Ledger newsroom will be spared in the latest downsizing.

"There will be none in the newsroom," said Newhouse.

One reason for that is that the Newhouse family long ago offered lifetime guarantees that spare editorial workers at its daily newspapers from cutbacks for economic reasons - provided the journalists never let the union inside the newsroom door.


Anonymous said...

I second that one.

Do they have any openings?

Shintzer said...

I don't know why Newhouse isn't mentioned more often as a counterargument to why newspapers have to slash their staffs, shutter suburban bureaus and pander to what readers supposedly want.

I'm at the Times-Picayune. Before that I worked for shit wages at the Pasadena Star-News and as a freelancer. We survived Katrina because of our decades-old investment in suburban coverage. New Orleans proper only has two-thirds of its pre-storm population, but the suburbs are growing, and we already had a structure in place to capitalize on that. Not only do we have four fully-staffed suburban bureaus, but we publish free, twice-weekly community newspapers. We just reopened the community paper in St. Bernard Parish, which only has 1/3 of its residents back, showing a continued commitment to hyper-local coverage. Our publisher recently told us that we're going to have to cut costs, but in the same breath he renewed the lifetime employment pledge.

Like everyone else, we're trying to figure out how to put out a better website and make money off it. But as of now, the editorial staff is still primarily concerned with good, old-fashioned journalism, not what some MBA has dreamed up to sell more papers.

I don't know how long our little paradise will last, but I think there's a limit to how bad it can get. That's because the Newhouses and the publishers they hire are old school paternalists. They treat their employees like human beings, giving us job security, free health insurance and a generous pension plan. They're openly anti-union -- but who needs a union if you're treated decently?

Anonymous said...

Well, at least there are SOME human beings left in this world who know that treating employees good IS an investment in the company. Our boys running these now rags don't have any idea how to live in the real world, and so they come up with ideas which they think will make them the best ever, but instead, it is making the worst ever, worse than rats, worse than blood-sucking leaches.

These people never put in a minute of their lives to make the papers as profitable as they used to be, so they could care less if they tear it down. They just bought em or were put in by the dilusional buyer and that is how we got to where we are today.

At least leaches are good medically, but these cancers we call bosses, are just that, a bad case of deadly disease.

Mike Rappaport said...

Before we praise Newhouse TOO much, let's remember that part of the purpose of what they're doing is to keep unions out.

Still, they look like Mother Teresa next to the Singletons and Zells.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, they keep unions out, but is that bad? If the employee is happy and gets all the benefits and everything else they deserve, who needs a union? There are no union fees, no one trying to screw all members for their own agenda, etc., etc., etc. I am pro-union IF the employer jacks the employees around, but if YOU have a guaranteed job for life, I too would say, "What is a union?"

Anonymous said...

MNG has the best of both worlds, for the owners at least: unions that are either nonexistent (San Bernardino) or neutered to the point of ineffectiveness (LADN), combined with low salaries and generally low labor costs.

Why would the owners want to change that?

calwatch said...

The other benefit of unions, though, are grievance processes and due process when discipline or firing occurs. I think Newhouse objects more to the unions overruling their management right to hire, fire, and punish their employees on their discretion.