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Black Wednesday

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Speaking of PR BS, when CFN's scribes were in college, we were told not to get into public relations because "you're the first to go and the last to know."

Now, as news organization budgets are trimmed, more journalists are getting jobs in PR. That may continue.

In news that rattled the local media landscape, NewsOK.com announced Wednesday, May 5, that The Oklahoman laid off 57 positions in various departments. Blaming "a struggling advertising environment that affects all traditional media in this country," the daily newspaper eliminated a total of 19 from the news staff. All laid off employees received severance packages.

The 7 percent staff reduction was roughly a third of the size of the previous round of cuts in October 2008, according to The Associated Press. That year, OPUBCO eliminated 155 positions, which had resulted in a 14 percent workforce cut. Following those retirement buyouts, 46 people were terminated in the earlier round, with 10 involuntary reductions in the news department.

Announcing the latest round of cuts last week, a NewsOK.com story cited a dip in consumer spending and soft advertising volume in what was described as the greatest downturn since the Great Depression.

"We're still experiencing a weak national economy," said David Thompson, The Oklahoman's publisher. "Like most media companies, we are trying to adjust to our environment."

On the bright side, the NewsOK.com story noted a growing online audience, an increase in home delivery subscribers and ongoing attempts to bring The Oke to new platforms, such as the iPad.

"Our commitment to quality for readers, advertisers and the community is unchanged," Thompson said.

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