Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A question about how the cuts were decided

Here's a comments thread on another post:

1) A person I know who was laid off let me see the list of positions selected for termination. According to it, 136 people lost their jobs this go-round. We were told that all positions in our small dept. were being considered for termination. On the list, all positions in each department were listed and an "X" was placed by the position(s) selected for termination. However, the person in our dept. who lost their job's position was the only one on the list, which leads us to believe she was specifically targeted, that perhaps her name/position was submitted in advance. If all our positions in this dept. were subject to the RIF, as we'd been told, why weren't all the positions on the list?

2) A friend showed me the list and I noticed there were no photo editors or any photo management on the list. I echo the above question, why weren't all the positions on the list?

3) Good question.

Similar examples can be found elsewhere on the list. For example, for "Editorial Page," only four positions were listed, one of which was "selected" for layoff. There are a lot more than four people in that dept.

Also, the list of those who apparently were considered for layoff included no line editors for national, foreign, TSW, Downtown Bureau, Metro Central Zone, Metro West Zone or Metro East Zone.

If I read this right then these people are saying that there were certain positions that were never considered for cuts -- no matter who was filing them. Unless there was a prior evaluation during which everyone in those positions was already determined to be necessary before the creation of the lists these people say they saw. Anybody have first-person information to contribute?


  1. I think can speak to the photo eds question. They went from 10 to 5 photo eds/managers last fall, that was where they were hit the hardest during that round. Therefore, i am assuming that's why none were let go this time. There's always next time though.......

  2. I have this list. I showed it to my attorney who confirmed that, to him, it is glaringly obvious this was done by the attorneys after the decisions were made. How stupid do they think we are? Who trusts A.H. Belo management at this point?

  3. As a long time reader who wishes you the best I must point out you have another problem in addition to the favoritism which may have been a basis for deciding who lost their job and who never had to worry. There are those whose jobs were not only never at risk but who also hold separate additional jobs elsewhere where they are well known as representatives of you and your paper but where they don't always comport themselves in ways that reflect positively on your paper and your own work. As a result, their unpredictable behavior when out of sight of the supervision you yourselves are completely subject to can very easily be costing you readers and advertisers online and off. In other words, and I hate to say this, you have colleagues who will not only never have to pay the price you have had to but who are also selling your efforts out to some extent as the cost of their secondary incomes. It really is a shame that you never had the advantage of a union guarantee of uniformity in workplace rules at the very least.

  4. Anonymous 9 p.m., can you be more specific. No names, but specifics.

  5. I know of some photographers who do freelance jobs during off hours who behave in a less than respectable manner. Maybe that's what he's talking about.

  6. Dear anonymous 10:28: Are you on crack? That's what I'm talking about.

  7. Gee whiz, Anonymous 10:28, throwing out that tidbit could make a whole lot of people look guilty of something they haven't done. The truth is a lot of good, honest and hard working people who did not deserve termination were let go while people with more questionable profiles and behaviors remain. Life is inherently unfair and ,perhaps in hindsight, those who were set free earlier will see it as a blessing in disguise. If the ship is sinking and there is no foreseeable solution, those who were set free this time might actually be the lucky ones.

  8. How can you not consider editors for layoffs when that is what we have too many of. This doesn't make sense. Again, don't want anyone to lose their jobs at all. But why don't we start making good business decisons. We never have, so why not change?

  9. I think we deserve to see a copy of this list. Maybe withou names. but still...

    I want to see it.

    Not that ti will do those of us who signed the freakin' agreement any good.

  10. Anonymous 4:25, isn't it obvious? No one is thinking about what is best for the survival of the newspaper as a whole but rather how to save one's own skin and that of their friends. It's rather like a captain and crew hogging the lifeboats and letting those who shovel the coal into the furnace drown.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. I deleted a comment that mentioned someone's name. It says a photographer was transferred to al Dia so the photo department actually lost seven people. If the person moved wants to self-identify, that's fine.

  13. Ah Randy, you made me laugh and cry at the same time!!!

    You forgot to mention:
    A) A simple assignment in the West End, walking along the street; when I turned to say something to you, you were gone! Down on the asphalt, rolling on your cameras because you'd stumbled and fell!
    B) A certain dangerous roller derby chick during a blackout on North Padre Island offering us some "harder stuff" than the drinks they were swilling, if only we were willing to climb several staircases lit by hotel employees with flashlights.
    C) A certain memorable trip through some Texas swamps during which another photographer was carried by a drunk gator hunter and promptly dropped in the mud before your eyes. During that same swamp trip, some other drunk hunter, ran the boat nearly aground flinging you and aforementioned other shooter to the floor of the boat. You were at the time grateful that you weren't flung into the water because it was full of gators. In the safety of a truck you were bombarded by flying insects and the driver, having nothing to clean his windshield, used a can of beer.

    If Jay Leno lands in Texas again soon, I'll give you a call.