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Union-Tribune employees who were laid off in the recent round were told today (May 20) that they should leave Friday but will still be paid through July 6. They are cleaning out their desks now. This does not apply to some who were laid off, and whose services are needed. A letter received by laid-off employees says that medical/dental coverage will be extended until July 6, as will the 401K match, which had been cancelled by the prior management, but recently reinstated. Why should the new management make this move? Few believe it is altruistic. The scuttlebutt is that morale is already extremely low, understandably, and having axed employees around for another 60 days could only worsen things. A remote possibility is that the new management is planning to move the operation out of the building even sooner than expected.

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Comments

WhatGoesAround May 20, 2009 @ 4:04 p.m.

"Display advertising and the movies, though they may dull the wits, certainly stimulate the eyes."

                                          John Dos Passos

What is needed in our 21st-century brave new world? Leaders who can act decisively and adapt rapidly to changing conditions without "taking it to" (as in abandoning) the human beings who make these profitable business ventures possible.

Globe publisher talks about newspaper's prospects http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2009/ 05/08/globe_publisher_talks_about_newspapers_prospects/?page=1

In this Q&A with the Boston Globe's publisher, P. Steven Ainsley says "It's a tougher nut to crack, but we're exploring how we can find some model that allows us to effectively gain some revenues from our online effort, from Boston.com. It remains to be seen just how we do that because I'm not convinced anyone has really figured that out yet."

After more than a decade of online presence, if as Ainsley says, " . . it remains to be seen just how we do that . . .", why in the world is he still the publisher? These are the people who are sinking newspapers.

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Don Bauder May 20, 2009 @ 6:53 p.m.

Response to posts #1: That's the bugaboo discussed among media moguls: how can we make money from the Internet? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 20, 2009 @ 6:54 p.m.

Response to post #2: According to an excellent source, the U-T's SignOnSanDiego revenue peaked a couple of years ago. I posted this on this site a month or so ago. Best, Don Bauder

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PaperGirlSD May 20, 2009 @ 9 p.m.

Holy Crap! You knew about this before I did and I got a letter! I guess all of your editorial contacts are still intact. My last day is June 12th... curious logic on the new plan.

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Don Bauder May 21, 2009 @ 6:14 a.m.

Response to post #5: A few people such as yourself will be permitted to work until early June. The others go Friday. Initially, people were told they would be gone in two months. That was a legal requirement related to the size of the layoff. But then the new managers appeared to change their minds, and told most to be gone in two days. They retain pay and benefits. Best, Don Bauder

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shizzyfinn May 21, 2009 @ 8:46 a.m.

Just read the Globe article. Funny to hear Globe management talking about newspapers still trying to figure out how to make money on the Internet. Seems like newspapers have been trying to figure that out for 10 years now, and don't seem to have gotten anywhere.

This got me wondering - are other countries experiencing this same phenomenon? Is the Internet killing newspapers around the world, or is it just US papers that can't seem to figure out how to survive?

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Don Bauder May 21, 2009 @ 10 a.m.

Response to post #7: Newspapers around the world have troubles, but they are not as deep as those in the U.S. Foreign papers will have to figure out how to make money on the Internet, too. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering May 21, 2009 @ 12:12 p.m.

Ya know I'd pay for an internet subscription to the new Union Tribune IF they would start behaving like the newspaper it was in the 70's and 80's. IMHO that was a paper worth reading and actually reported news, dug into stories and editorialize. Maybe, just maybe, new ownership wants to bring back those days and the readership...

Okay..... now everyone can tell me I'm dreaming....

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Don Bauder May 21, 2009 @ 1:52 p.m.

Response to post #9: Editorially, the paper can only go down, and down from a low level. There can't be this many cuts of the editorial staff without a sharp decline in quality of the product. Also, some of the very best people were fired -- a sign that there is no intention to do investigative reporting or tough reviewing, despite the rhetoric. I am thinking of Penni Crabtree, who dug up and covered many science scams, and David Elliott, excellent movie reviewer -- both fired. At the same time, a columnist specializing in poorly written frivolity is still there, along with some upwardly mobile types who write slipshod editorials always cozying up to the establishment. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 21, 2009 @ 8:46 p.m.

Oh brother-it's on (I can't wait to see what unfolds here);

L.A. police union wants San Diego newspaper writers fired

The union representing Los Angeles police officers is pressuring the owner of San Diego’s main newspaper to change the paper’s editorial stance on labor issues or to fire its editorial writers.

The feud is rooted in the recent purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune by Platinum Equity, a private Beverly Hills firm.

Platinum relies on a $30-million investment from the pension fund of Los Angeles police officers and fire fighters, along with large sums from other public-employee pension systems around the state, to help fund its acquisitions of companies. As League President Paul M. Weber views it, that makes the League part owner in the flagging Tribune and League officials are none to happy with the paper’s consistent position that San Diego lawmakers should cut back on salaries and benefits for public employees in order to help close gaping budget deficits.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/la-police-union-wants-san-diego-newspaper-writers-fired.html

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Don Bauder May 21, 2009 @ 9:27 p.m.

Response to post #11: I disagree strongly. He was a terrific film critic -- a credit to San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 21, 2009 @ 9:35 p.m.

Response to post #12: Wow. This promises to be a donnybrook. The unions should not get involved in this. An important question is whether other state unions that invest with Platinum will take the same position. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 21, 2009 @ 10:32 p.m.

I think a better question is WHY are state/taxpayer backed pension funds investing in hedgefunds that have a high potential for melting down?

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Don Bauder May 22, 2009 @ 7:23 a.m.

Response to post #15: That is an excellent question. I, for one, do not believe that investments in venture capital, hedge funds or private equity firms is appropriate for pension funds. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley May 22, 2009 @ 9:43 a.m.

Well, I guess that answers my question about whether Platinum will be as anti-union as Helen.

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Don Bauder May 22, 2009 @ 11:32 a.m.

Response to post #17: Yes, Platinum has raised investor funds from labor unions. But what percentage of total funds do the labor unions represent? If it's high, then Platinum may listen to the unions. If it is not high, this too may pass. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround May 22, 2009 @ 1:42 p.m.

For PaperGirlSD and everyone else subject to layoff, here is a company (decidedly in the minority) with a more enlightened, employee-centered business model.

New Hampshire company has "no-layoff" policy http://www3.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO113349

Perhaps the key to this type of win-win is competent management. Don, I know these types of companies are the exception to the rule, and welcome your thoughts about them.

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Don Bauder May 22, 2009 @ 9:10 p.m.

Response to post #19: Hypotherm is employee-owned, allegedly. Thus, the only shareholders management must answer to is employees themselves. The employees are motivated to perform. However, if Hypotherm's business dried up because of some factors under which the company had little control (such as a competitor's technological advance, or a foreign company severely underpricing the product), Hypotherm may have to think hard about its no-layoff policy. Best, Don Bauder

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WhatGoesAround May 22, 2009 @ 10:18 p.m.

"However, if Hypotherm's business dried up . . . "


Don, I can see that a no-layoff policy sounds too good to be true, and appreciate your point that they (Hypertherm) are vulnerable. That said, there has to be a better way than endless cycles of business expansion/contraction with layoffs/unemployment and more severe uncertainty and chaos than most human beings should have to endure in one lifetime.

Maybe I need to subscribe to the Journal of Economic Utopias, or otherwise get over it.

Hope you are feeling better and have a restful Memorial Day weekend.

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Don Bauder May 23, 2009 @ 6:59 a.m.

Response to post #21: All companies are vulnerable. Who would have dreamed ten years ago that GM would almost certainly go bankrupt this coming week, AIG would be effectively bankrupt, and many large banks (Citigroup, B of A, etc.) would be on the ropes. Yes, I'm feeling better. That means I am getting as nasty as ever. Best, Don Bauder

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reddragonfly May 27, 2009 @ 6:24 p.m.

Does anyone know what operations are left at the corporate office (Copley Press) in La Jolla? Won't there be layoffs there too? What's left for the La Jolla employees to do - just manage David's money?

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Don Bauder May 27, 2009 @ 9:09 p.m.

Response to post #23: Before the Platinum deal was finalized, there were only a few people at the corporate office in La Jolla: Chief Operating Officer Hal Fuson, Chief Financial Officer Dean Dwyer and a handful of others providing services. Today, I do not know if anybody is there. According to an unconfirmed rumor, David Copley retains some of the equity in the company. If that is true, he may feel there is a reason to have somebody there. Also, some people may stay there for awhile in the transition to the new management. We do know that the corporate headquarters was not sold. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley May 28, 2009 @ 2:52 p.m.

The Copley wesbite, www.copleypress.com, says it publishes two daily, one weekly and one bi-weekly newspaper. The website says they also operate Copley News Service, "a full-service syndicate that provides a wide array of daily news, weekly and special feature packages, editorial cartoons, color photos and comic strips to more than 1,500 clients."

Who knew??

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Don Bauder May 28, 2009 @ 3:08 p.m.

Response to post #25: One of the two supposed dailies is Today's Local News. I think that is gone now. There are still some people in cities that were once covered by Copley News Service -- Sacramento, for example. But I think they report directly to the U-T. I think Copley News Service is gone, but I may be wrong. I know a whole bunch of people are gone. Since the new owners have taken the name Copley off the Mission Valley building, I would guess that there will be some kind of a name change. However, as I have mentioned, there is a rumor that David Copley still has some equity in the company. That might change things. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley May 29, 2009 @ 1:15 p.m.

This just in: VP of HR Bobbie Espinosa was handed her walking papers.

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HellcatCopley May 29, 2009 @ 1:37 p.m.

Add VP of Advertising Scott Whitley to that list.

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Don Bauder May 29, 2009 @ 4:38 p.m.

Response to post #27 and #28: See the top post above. Best, Don Bauder

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