Dayton Daily news still can’t sell papers- layoff time (again)

On the same day the “iTeam” blows a mole hill into a mountain with the $3000 trash pickup, the “market vice president” Julia Wallace sent out the following request for about 22 people over 55 to hang up their careers because Cox can’t figure out how to produce a product worth paying for:

October 10, 2013

Dear Staff:

Today, we are offering select Cox Media Group Ohio employees in newspaper content and newspaper sales a Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP). This is an effort to reduce our newspaper expenses to meet the 2014 budget.

Despite the hard work and dedication of employees throughout the company, the newspaper business continues to undergo significant challenges due to the changing media landscape and our local economic conditions. Our 2013 newspaper revenue is down, and we expect that trend to continue into next year. We must scale our business to better align newspaper revenue and expenses.

Our goal is to achieve staff reductions voluntarily, so we have put together a plan that we believe is very generous and will be very appealing to eligible employees. To be eligible, employees must work full-time in CMGO’s newspaper content and sales departments in salary grades 6 through 10. They cannot have retired from Cox before and must meet the following criteria as of October 31, 2013:

  • Have at least 10 years of pension vesting service under the Cox Enterprise, Inc. pension plan and
  • Be at least 55 years of age

Employees have until Friday, November 22, 2013, to submit their decision. That will also be their last day of work if they accept the offer.

It has been almost five years since we last offered a Voluntary Separation Plan and it is not a decision we make lightly. If we do not reach our reduction goal, we will have involuntary layoffs within all areas of the newspaper, including content and sales.

This is a challenging time for newspapers financially, but it is also an exciting time to be in the media business. Our newspapers are important, relevant and valuable to hundreds of thousands of local residents. Our television and radio stations are No. 1 in the market, and we are expanding our digital businesses. CMG Ohio is the leading media company here, reaching more than 90 percent of the Dayton/Springfield DMA.

We will continue to strive for the highest level of journalism, community service and entertainment; to innovate in the digital space; and to leverage the power of all of our brands to drive audience and revenue.

If you have questions, please contact Toni Mitchell or another member of her Human Resources team.

Regards,

Julia Wallace
Market Vice President

Here are some tips for Ms. Wallace-

  • Your senior people are the ones with the institutional knowledge about this community- you lose many more of them and you won’t have people that can find their way to the dump without a GPS.
  • Producing a website for News Radio, TV and for the paper is 3x the work- to do the same thing. Hint: a screen, is a screen, is a screen- TV, iPad, smart phone- one site is all you need- and to state the obvious- more traffic to one site means more ad revenue.
  • If you don’t know who is reading, watching, commenting, and listening- you aren’t worth a dime to advertisers. Giving people access to content- gives you access to their demographic info- which in turn gives you the chance to target ads precisely- which pays more. Wake up and stop playing tease with your paywall.
  • Besides Archdeacon, you have very few people that can tell a story. Better writers sell more papers. Same goes for photos- but you are very lucky to have a crew of shutterbugs like Jim Witmer who can make anything look good. Try using more photos online, tell the story with words and pictures.
  • And last but not least, printing the dead tree edition is stupid. Buy all your subscribers Kindles and stop wasting money and gas making bird cage liners.

If you want to hire someone who not only knows how to find the stories, and get eyeballs, and understands interface design- you’re reading his post right here. I’d be happy to show you how to keep some people employed by producing something people want to pay for to read/watch/listen to.

Sorry for those left slaving in the Cox slammer- you deserve better leadership. And Julia, resign from the Dayton Development Coalition board- no real publisher would allow themselves to be bought by the lobbyists. Drones won’t save us. Repeat after me, Drones won’t save us. Cheers.

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