Well, layoffs may not be exactly the right word, but the recent news that two dozen Star Tribune newsroom staff had accepted buyouts continues the trend toward newsroom downsizing.
The buyouts amount to two weeks of pay for every year of service. I was surprised at some of the names I saw, like Dane Smith, with whom I worked back at the state capitol in the late ’80s to mid ’90s. With 20 years under his belt, the MPR story says he sees this as an opportunity to move to other pursuits. Still, I’ve been reading his byline for a long time, so it will be quite a change.
This is the same buyout formula the St. Paul Pioneer Press offered its employees late last year. Buyouts are better than layoffs (at least they’re voluntary), but they’re happening all over: this post has links to some other notable and recent ones.
It’s another signpost on the road to smaller mainstream media news organizations, even as the amount of news and information available explodes. Reporters are needing to be more versatile, producing multimedia content in addition to their old-fashioned writing. And many reporters are starting blogs (often hosted by their newspapers), so the writing part of the job isn’t diminishing either.
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