Thursday, December 14, 2006

News on the Blogosphere

Post Newsroom Not Smiling as Downie Calls Thursday Meeting
As Washington Post reporters gird themselves for today’s 3 pm meeting with executive editor Leonard Downie, they use four words to describe the mood of the newsroom:

Greedy vultures
All you have to do to understand that newspapers are in trouble today in America is to read one. It seems that almost every day, newspapers are reporting one story or another about their own demise.

Hearst and Dean Singleton say there's no illegal deal
The Bay Area's daily newspaper barons are trying to overcome a federal judge's concerns that their recent deal is illegal and anticompetitive. But the bonds between the Hearst Corp. and Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group have only grown closer since Judge Susan Illston ruled last month that their local dealings look fishy.

Memo Pad: Bah, Humbug ... Holiday Closings ... Parsing The Exclusive
BAH, HUMBUG: So much for holiday cheer. Anxiety is building within the halls of Time Inc. as employees await the results of the evaluation by those Scrooges over at McKinsey & Co. as to how the publisher can run its magazine business more efficiently. As WWD reported in October, the high-priced bean counters have been evaluating the publishing company for several weeks in order to find, according to a spokeswoman, "what could be reengineered to free up investment dollars for future growth and how to further integrate online and print editorial operations."

The Newspaper Guild reaches a tentative agreement.
On sick time: Employees will now start each year of employment with what a Guild negotiator called a “three-day pass,” allowing them to be paid at 100 percent of their pay rate for up to three days the first time they’re sick. In a twist that turns company policy into a kind of game show, Guild members can earn a second three-day pass if they go six months without calling in sick. This particular aspect of the tentative agreement drew jeers and derisive laughter from the audience. But the mood turned darker when members learned that anyone who calls in sick a second time within any six-month time period will receive no sick pay benefits until the fourth day of their illness, at which time they’ll receive just 65 percent of their pay. “What if somebody gets really sick?” shouted one member. “What if someone gets cancer?” “The company doesn’t care,” replied a Guild negotiator.

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