US newspapers, magazines to slash thousands of jobsNovember 2nd, 2008 - 8:49 am ICT by IANS
New York, Nov 2 (Xinhua) Gannett Company Inc., the largest US newspaper chain, has announced that it will lay off about 10 percent of its workforce by early December.The move, together with projected job cuts at Time, New York Times and other big-name media organisations, has made the US economic scenario look even gloomier for many.
Over the past few weeks, a number of US newspapers and magazines have announced their plans to shed jobs so as to lower their operating costs as the pain of the financial crisis spreads well beyond Wall Street.
According to a New York Times report, Gannett’s layoffs will not apply to the company’s flagship paper, USA Today, but to the company’s 84 other daily newspapers in the United States, and more than 800 small, non-daily local papers.
Gannett, the largest US newspaper publisher in terms of daily circulation, reportedly declined to say how many people would lose their jobs. The 10-percent figure translates to roughly 3,000 people.
Besides, Time Warner’s Time Inc., the world’s largest magazine company, plans a restructuring that could lead to as many as 600 job cuts, or about six percent of its workforce, according to media.
The move was taken in response to the onset of the world financial crisis, which is aggravating an already difficult decline in advertising spending at US newspapers and magazines, particularly as more people shun printed publications in favour of free information on the Internet.
It affects some of the most well-known US magazines, including the Time Weekly news magazine, People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. All these titles are part of parent company Time Warner, which owns the AOL Internet service as well as the CNN, the popular cable news television network.
“Industry conditions have been challenging due to the financial crisis, which has produced sharp decreases in advertising spending. This is expected to continue through most of 2009,” Time Chairman and Chief Executive Ann Moore was cited as writing in a memo to employees.
Just as it prepares for its 100th birthday, the Christian Science Monitor has announced that it will discontinue its Monday-Friday print and will be replaced by a weekly paper edition, as the daily news is picked up by its website, CSMonitor.
The Monitor’s editor, John Yemma, was quoted by a report on a website as saying that there will likely be layoffs, but refused to talk about the exact number. The layoffs will likely occur when the shift goes into effect sometime next April.
The decision was reportedly made as Monitor is feeling the pressure to be more self-supporting. The paper, which tends to cover global and political news from a liberal, analytic perspective, reportedly had $18.9 million in net losses last year with about $12.5 million dollars in revenue.
Earlier in September, The New York Times, the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States with 98 Pulitzer Prizes, reported that it was shutting down City and Suburban Delivery Systems, a unit that distributed the Times and 200 other publications to newsstands in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas.
With it, the newspaper was reducing 550 full-time union jobs, but a source later said the likely number would be 300 to 600.
As a result of the worsening economic situation, an increasing number of businesses in various sectors have announced their job-cut plans.
In the past two weeks, the list of companies announcing their intention to reduce workforce reads like a Who’s Who of corporate America: Merck, Yahoo, General Electric, Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, Goldman Sachs, Whirlpool, Bank of America, Alcoa, Coca-Cola, the Detroit automakers and nearly all the airlines, the International Herald Tribune reported.
When the October job losses are announced Nov 7, three days after the presidential election, many economists expect the number to exceed 200,000. The current US unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is likely to rise, perhaps significantly.
“My view is that it will be near eight or 8.5 percent by the end of next year,” said Nigel Gault, the chief domestic economist at Global Insight. That would be the highest rate since the deep recession of the early 1980s.
Analysts say that effective measures must be taken to help people weather the current situation.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken the lead in adopting some measures to cope with the situation.
On Thursday, he announced 18 initiatives to help New Yorkers cope with the increasing challenges brought by the global, national and local economic downturn.
The initiatives were designed to create jobs, support the city’s workforce, small businesses and homeowners, and provide targeted relief to the city’s most vulnerable populations.