Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kansas City Star cutting more employees

In what is becoming a regular occurrence, the Kansas City Star today announced that more employees are going to be fired as a result of parent company McClatchy Newspapers' restructuring:

Mark Zieman, publisher of The Star, said in a memo to employees that the newspaper was "still developing our plan to address these expense cuts. Unfortunately, we know these cuts will include job eliminations. But we are also exploring several other alternatives to limit the number of layoffs. We will share these details with you just as soon as they are final."

The cuts would represent the fourth time since June that The Star has eliminated positions. In November, the newspaper notified about 50 employees that they were being let go. That came after The Star eliminated about 120 jobs in June, or about 10 percent of The Star's workforce at the time, and after another 65 employees were laid off or accepted buyouts in September.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's an opinion piece about related media problems I posted on the Pulaski County Web, the companion opinion site of the Pulaski County Daily ( online news site:

GateHouse Media is shutting down another newspaper, the Derby Reporter in Kansas. The final publication date will be 2/17 and six people will lose their jobs as a result. Gatehouse Media is the parent company of the Waynesville Daily Guide, Rolla Daily News and Camden Lake Sun Leader, and it also recently shut down the print edition of the Kansas City Kansan, converting to an internet-only newspaper.

What isn't being as widely reported is that the Derby Reporter newspaper got into trouble because their local county government got mad at them and pulled their legal notices, prompting a lawsuit by the newspaper publisher against the county. One of the reasons was that the Derby Reporter cut back from a five-day-per week newspaper to a three-day-per-week newspaper; other more political motives have been claimed and are listed in the weblinks below. This is an example of how city officials can cause major problems for local media because legal notices are a large part of the revenue stream for smaller newspapers.

Here's the story on that by the Wichita Business Journal:

And here's an analysis piece by the Kansas Liberty, an online conservative blog, about the role of legal notices:

The Derby Reporter had a circulation variously reported as 1,500 in the MondoTimes listing of news media outlets or 1,000 in more recent reports. More significantly, it's located in a rapidly growing suburb of Wichita that has 21,101 residents according to 2006 population estimates up from 17,807 at the 2000 census.

In other words, the demographics of the Derby Reporter are similar to those of the Waynesville Daily Guide -- a shrinking newspaper in a rapidly growing community.

Here's a link to the Derby Reporter's own story:

And here's their big-city competitor's article from the Wichita Eagle:

The key language from the Derby Reporter's story is as follows:

"The newspaper thrived during the rapid the growth city and was instrumental in informing and educating residents as the small town became a bustling suburb.

Market forces, challenges specific to the newspaper industry and the loss of a major revenue stream have overwhelmed the newspaper’s ability to continue with a profitable business model.

'We had hoped to find a way to continue publication,' said Publisher Kent Bush. 'We are proud of our staff and the work they have done for this community. It is unfortunate that so many challenges came simultaneously to limit our ability to survive.'"