This Week in the Mercury


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Oregonian Blowup: Layoffs, Four-Day Home Delivery

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Editor Peter Bhatia meets with reporters and editors.
  • anna griffin via twitter
  • Editor Peter Bhatia meets with reporters and editors.
Joining other Advance Publications newspapers nationwide, the Oregonian announced this morning that it will be laying off staffers and reconstituting itself as a print-digital media outfit known as the Oregonian Media Group—keeping daily publication but dropping home delivery to just four days a week (with Saturday as some kind of "bonus"; you'll only pay for three days).

The paper made it all official at 10 this morning, ending months of rumors after similar moves, often panned, in cities like New Orleans and Cleveland. (The New Orleans Times-Picayune recently restored daily print publication after first embarking on this hybrid media strategy years ago.) Current editor Peter Bhatia will remain in charge of content for the new company. Publisher N. Christian Anderson will remain president.

The number of layoffs, however, is unclear. And so is the fallout for staffers. A separate company, Advance Central Services Oregon, will take up "support" duties, like HR and circulation, for the new company and "others"—suggesting many of the cuts might come from the consolidation of "back office" functions at the downtown paper and its suburban holdings. Printing will remain in Portland. The paper says current employees are free to apply for jobs in the new companies.

Business reporter Brent Hunsberger, citing Bhatia, sent a tweet saying the news side will still have 90 or so reporters.

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Severance packages will be offered, but Bhatia has given a caution.

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Writer Anna Griffin has been on Twitter shedding some light on what's been happening in the newsroom. No across-the-board pay cuts, she says, making sure to say that everyone is being "humane" about the news—despite the promise of "significant" cuts, people will know pretty soon.

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The changes take effect October 1. There will also be a digital newspaper released at the unfortunately named "MyDigitalO.com." The paper company will be actively working to do more with video and slideshows and other digital content as it devises new ad packages and prices.

A FAQ from the O is here.

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