Alden Global Capital, owner of The Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call, among other properties, has tripled down on the Tegna strategy of requiring reporters and others to take furloughs.
Boulder Daily Camera reporter Katie Langford shared that reporters at her paper and the Times-Call will be required to take three weeks of unpaid time off between now and the end of June.
Meanwhile, Alden has informed the Guild representing The Denver Post reporters that it wants a similar arrangement there, an issue that is being negotiated at the moment.
Greg Avery at the Denver Business Journal reports that The Denver Post wants to eliminate another 20 percent of its newsroom – 26 positions – in the latest round of buyouts, the second in just 12 months.
A great city needs great media holding it accountable. If you’d like to help stop the bleeding, you can subscribe to The Denver Post.
The Denver Post is reporting that the Colorado Springs Gazette has let about a dozen employees go, including editor Jeff Thomas.
If you have a pitch sitting with an ABC News producer, better follow up quickly. ABC announced today it will cut 300-400 news division staffers as part of a “transformation” to make the division leaner. The layoffs represent up to 25 percent of ABC News’ total staff.
UPDATE: PRNewswer spoke with ABC News President David Westin about the PR implications of the layoff.
CBS4 is shuffling the chairs on its morning news show, and the odd woman out is weather forecaster Stacey Donaldson. Michael Roberts at Westword has the details.
Denver’s loss is Toronto’s gain. David Milstead, the talented business and financial columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, has accepted a reporter position with Toronto-based Globe and Mail. Milstead would have been a strong addition to the Denver Post, but his candid coverage of the events surrounding the Rocky’s closing – and the Post’s own less-than-solid financial footing – seemingly cost him that chance.
Here is Milstead’s email announcing the news to friends and colleagues:
From: David Milstead
Date: September 22, 2009 3:44:43 PM MDT
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Milstead update
I will be joining the Globe and Mail, Canada’s Toronto-based national newspaper, as a reporter in its Report On Business section. I’ll be doing something similar to what I did at the Rocky Mountain News – specialty finance coverage. (No column, however.)
The Globe and Mail competes directly with The National Post, which describes itself as a national newspaper, but fails to distribute in some provinces and has suspended publication of its Monday paper. The Toronto Star and The Sun provide local news in the market.
I consider myself fortunate to find a full-time job with benefits with an excellent newspaper that has a serious commitment to business journalism. The Report On Business has about three dozen reporters; the day I interviewed, it was 20 broadsheet pages. All told, the Globe and Mail has more than 300 newsroom employees and circulates about 330,000 copies a day.
My first day will be Nov. 2.
I believed from the beginning that I would face the choice of leaving journalism or leaving Denver, and thought it more likely I’d leave journalism. I had prepared myself for that possibility, and am somewhat shocked to be heading right back into the newspaper business.
It was not our goal or preference to leave Denver, and we will miss all the wonderful people we’ve met in the last eight years. We will keep in touch.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis danced on the grave of the Rocky Mountain News, and now U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has thrown a shovel full of dirt at the Las Vegas Review-Journal hoping it sparks something. Here’s a free PR tip: Quit publicly rooting for something that would be devastating to the hundreds of your constituents who are LVRJ employees and the hundreds of thousands who are subscribers.
The Fort Collins Coloradoan has laid off nine staff members in its second round of layoffs this year. The Denver Business Journal has the details.
Meteorologist Chris Dunn, who was let go from Fox31 last month, has been picked up by Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO-TV. Dunn is the station’s new weekday evening meteorologist.
Fox31 has told high school sports reporter Marcia Neville that her contract will not be renewed, making her the eighth television sports personality to be let go this year, according to the Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow.
Meteorologist Chris Dunn and reporters Audra Ensign and Charlie Brennan were among six laid off at KDVR/Fox31 yesterday. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.
Meterologist Nick Carter, who was let go from 9News for salary reasons in January, has landed at Fox31.
Could someone please explain to me how former KWGN/Channel 2 anchor Ernie Bjorkman can make the rounds on national media talking about his financial struggles after losing his anchor job? Today it was the Oprah Winfey show. The guy made $250,000 a year and within five months of being out of work he has to borrow $1,000 from a friend to cover his car payment. Seriously?
KMGH/Channel 7 won’t renew longtime Denver news reporter and anchor Steve Saunders’ contract, and his last day will be Aug. 15. Saunders, the son of former Rocky Mountain News media critic Dusty Saunders and the widower of Emmy-award-winning Denver television news producer Pam Saunders, spent the past decade at KMGH, and was at KWGN/Channel 2 for eight years prior to that. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.
We’ve heard rumors for several days that 9News is dumping investigative reporter Paula Woodward, and now the rumor mill has Reggie Rivers out as CBS4’s weekend sports anchor. We’re starting a pool for the last Denver news personality over age 30.
The Denver Newspaper Agency today let go the first 40 employees of a planned 200-employee reduction.
Here’s wishing best of luck to Colorado Media Matters’ Bill Menezes and his staff, who were let go this week after a national reshuffling that consolidated its operations in Washington, D.C. Bill will continue to consult with Media Matters for a couple of months, but will be looking for other opportunities after that.
Hearst announced today that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will morph from a print publication to online-only, starting tomorrow. But if you were looking for the online version to be as beefy as it has been, you’ll be disappointed. Hearst will staff the “new” PI at 20 people, down from 150 for the print version.
Fresh on the heels of the Rocky’s shutdown, Time Magazine offers its Top 10 List of Newspapers That Will Fold or Go Digital-Only (fortunately, the Denver Post is not one of them).
(Hat Tip: The Denver Egotist)
So, it’s been a week since we learned that Scripps would shut the Rocky Mountain News down. The most recent developments:
Millionaire software entrepreneur turned U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who perhaps still hasn’t quite grasped the idea that he represents constituents, has offered an apology for his gleeful comments about the death of the Rocky Mountain News.
The fallout from this brutal economy continues – Denver creative placement agency The Gene Pool will shut its doors on April 1. The Denver Egotist has the details.
There is a fine line between being balanced and poking your advertisers in the eye. Given that Intrawest and Vail Resorts have both announced significant revenue declines and employee layoffs, I’m guessing they think this is the latter. Money quote:
“I started coming to Deer Valley in 1998,” says David Adamson. “I used to go to Colorado every year, but the snow in Utah is the best in the world, and the travel to and from L.A. is so easy.”
A tremendous behind-the-scenes look at how Scripps’ decision to close the Rocky Mountain News played out in the newsroom.
Among those offering their thoughts on the demise of the Rocky Mountain News are Metzger’s Lisa Greim (a former Rocky business reporter who offers a touching eulogy for the paper), Webb PR’s Pete Webb, GBSM’s Steve Silvers, GroundFloor’s Ramonna Tooley and Pure’s Larry Holdren.
9News anchor/reporter Ward Lucas has decided to leave the station, and will anchor his last broadcast this weekend. Also, CBS4 is outsourcing its helicopter operations and, as a result, pilot/personality Mike Silva is being let go. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details on both.
Apparently The Denver Egotist’s recent recruitment drive has netted it a bunch of softies, because the advertising-focused site that helps Denver suck less, daily, is going all public servicey by trying to find jobs for PR/advertising/marketing/creative types who have found themselves unemployed. The details are here. And if you know someone who has lost their job, pass the word.
David Milstead at the Rocky Mountain News reports that unions representing employees at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent. According to Milstead, “Today’s tentative agreement includes salary reductions averaging 7 percent, 10 unpaid days off for most workers, the suspension of the 401(k) match, cuts in sick days and mileage reimbursements, and increases in health and dental premiums.” Layoffs are still a possibility if the agreement doesn’t yield the $18 million in concessions the DNA was seeking.
The Heart-owned San Francisco Chronicle is the latest newspaper to be threatened with being sold or shutdown. Hearst has also threatened the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with the same fate.
Michael Roberts at Westword has multiple sources telling him that the Denver Post has begun the process of cherry-picking Rocky Mountain News talent.
E.W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne popped out of his hole this morning and saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of excruciating limbo for Rocky Mountain News employees. If I were Boehne, the first thing I would do, aside from using my bonus money to short Scripps stock, would be to hire David Milstead to calculate how much it would cost to shut down the Rocky, since apparently even 10 weeks after stating his intention to sell or shutter the paper he still has no idea how much it would cost to actually close it down. Ten weeks. Seriously. Oh, and Scripps employees nationwide will see pay cuts of 3-5 percent.
Citing budget cuts that forced his hand, Denver Post Editor Greg Moore announced the layoffs of six non-union employees: managing editor Gary Clark, political Web site editor Stephen Keating, assistant city editor Cynthia Pasquale, assistant design director Ingrid Muller, online director Mark Cardwell and systems editor Eric Strom. Michael Roberts at Westword has the details.
KMGH/Channel 7 anchor Bertha Lynn may be the next high-profile Denver television anchor to get the boot. Colorado Association of Black Journalists President (and 850 KOA executive producer) Amani Ali sent an urgent – and passionate – letter to members yesterday asking members to contact KMGH management because the station “is making a concerted effort to terminate the employment of Bertha Lynn” who “has excelled in spite of being taken off of the prime time anchor desk, moved around, and disrespected while being subjected to intolerable working conditions.” You can read the full letter here.
The most interesting predictions often are the ones that have a 2 percent chance of coming true. So in that spirit, let me offer this prediction: Scripps has analyzed the numbers and realized that it can outlast MediaNews Group if it is willing to suffer another tough six months. MediaNews Group will be forced to fold the Denver Post by summer, and the Rocky Mountain News will survive as the only major daily in Denver.
Will that prediction come true? Probably not. But if the economics of being the only newspaper in town work for MediaNews Group, they should also work for Scripps. And Scripps seems much better positioned financially to ride out a tough six months than MediaNews Group. We are just two days away from mid-February, which is a full month after Scripps initially implied a decision would be made about shutting down the Rocky, and there still has been no word on its fate.
It is hard to figure out which is in worse financial shape: the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News or the Denver Newspaper Agency. Post publisher MediaNews Group often seems to be teetering on the brink of missing its debt payments, the Rocky is almost certain to be shut down, and now Jeff Smith at the Rocky reports that the DNA needs to cut about $35 million through union concessions, roughly double what had been reported previously.
Fox 31 sports anchor Eric Goodman is the latest Denver television personality to be let go. Dusty Saunders at the Rocky Mountain News reports that Fox 31 “executives did not renew the contract of Goodman, who joined the station in October 2004.”
Boulder- and Miami-based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky announced plans to lay off about 60 employees, or nearly 7 percent of its workforce, due to “the current economic climate (and) advertising budgets (that) are being reduced in virtually every industry.” It is not clear how many of the firm’s 500 Boulder-based employees might be involved.
As expected, Denver Post publisher MediaNews Group has expanded its employee furlough program, adding media properties in Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The program requires employees to take week-long unpaid leaves in an effort to reduce payroll costs. While the company has not yet required Denver Post employees to take furloughs, it is currently negotiating with the paper’s union representatives in an attempt to cut pay and benefits to the tune of $2 million. And you can expect the furloughs to be part of any deal that is reached.
Adding insult to injury, the Denver Newspaper Agency appears to be among those who have written off any future for the Rocky Mountain News. David “Screw a Job with the Post. If I’m Going Down, I’m Going Down with Style” Milstead has the details on a letter to advertisers that has been prepared by the DNA.
I removed Schenkein from the “Denver Agencies” list and its Tracked Changes blog from the “Blogs Worth Reading” list today. Schenkein was a blue-chip name in Denver, and a lot of great public relations people passed through its doors over the years. Here’s hoping that those who were with it at the end find other positions quickly.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the fate of the Rocky Mountain News could be decided within the next week.
Could a furlough program that MediaNews Group has instituted in California wind up sidelining some Denver Post reporters eventually? MediaNews is “requiring all nonunion employees who work at the company’s California newspapers to take one week of unpaid leave this quarter to help cut costs,” and a company spokesman says it is also considering requiring furloughs at its media properties outside California.
The news about the Rocky Mountain News is that there is no news. Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal reports that Scripps “is maintaining its silence on its plans for the money-losing Denver daily — or if there’s an offer on the table for the newspaper.”
More than 200,000 jobs have been cut in the past month alone, 68,000 of which were announced today. The good news? Many economists predict that the recession will end after the second quarter of 2009.
9News meteorologist Nick Carter is the latest Denver television news personality to be axed due to the tough economy. Carter’s contract will not be renewed, and his last day on air will be this Friday. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details.
Ernie Bjorkman may have had a bigger audience in the past month as a vet tech than he had in his final six months as an anchor with KWGN/Channel 2. First, the New York Times profiled him as the face of what is happening to experienced (i.e. old and expensive) anchors, then 20/20 jumped on the bandwagon. Now, he will be appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (with Ted Danson) this Wednesday (3 p.m. on KUSA/Channel 9). So what does Bjorkman think of all this? He tells the Denver Post’s Bill Husted, “Getting fired has landed me more publicity than anything I’ve ever done in 26 years in Denver.”
By Jon Pushkin, APR and Gina Seamans, APR
The news about the News hit Denver’s PR community like a bombshell. Partly that’s because we spend a good deal of our time building relationships with members of the media. We get to know them as people and in many case we build friendships that go well beyond the newsroom.
So when the finality of the announcement that the News was on life support was delivered to employees matter-of-factly by the corporate decision makers in the Scripps company, we felt their pain as though it was our own.
We also had another eye-opening realization that was even more sobering. That is that newspapers and the journalists who work for them are disposable. It is one thing to make a business decision to sell or close a company that is not profitable. But in this case, the surprising thing is what the people making this decision failed to see: the value in the brand is worth more than the money they will save by closing the Rocky.
The equity in a 150-year-old brand like the Rocky Mountain News is priceless. Maybe you tweak the business model or make some significant changes, but you don’t just discard it. The intellectual capital represented by the talented journalists who work at the News is another valuable asset that the owners fail to appreciate. Rather than asking for options or even concessions, the owners are content to dispose of that asset as well.
A free and vibrant press is a core pillar of public relations. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Code of Ethics states that “protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society.” Healthy communities and democratic societies depend on the free flow of information to help the public make informed decisions about important issues. The troubling trend toward eliminating newspapers and treating journalists as expendable will have a serious long-term impact on the health of our communities.
Blogs and social media and word of mouth are important sources of information but they are no substitute for professional news organizations. They usually have a particular perspective and they generally do not cover stories in the same in-depth way that a reporter would. In many cases, the people who provide the news through those channels are not professional journalists. They are not Clark Kent or Lois Lane or Damon Runyon or Jimmy Breslin or Thomas Friedman. They are just people with opinions who like to express them in public forums with other people who share those same interests. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is not news. Too often it is just noise.
PRSA Colorado believes that the loss of the News would be devastating to our city’s culture and reputation. We call on the decision makers at Scripps to exhaust every potential buyer and to consider other creative options before they close the paper. We offer our assistance to help them explore these options and research reasonable alternatives. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at the News and encourage them to keep the faith.
Disposing of a priceless brand and a valuable asset is not good business. It is just bad PR.
Jon Pushkin is president of Pushkin Public Relations and a past president of the Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Gina Seamans is a senior counselor at JohnstonWells and president of the Colorado chapter of PRSA.
Former Fox31 morning anchor Steve Kelley may have been “blindsided” by his dismissal, but he tells the Denver Post’s Bill Husted that he is back and looking “to reinvent myself” to find his next job. For what its worth, Webb PR’s Pete Webb predicts Kelley will wind up back at 850 KOA, his home for nearly two decades before he took the Fox31 position.
Gannett Co., impressed with the bad-ass way Scripps and Hearst dealt with the Rocky and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, is following suit with threats to close the Tucson Citizen if it does not find a buyer by March 21.
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher and owner of 9News (KUSA-TV), My20 (KTVD-TV) and the Fort Collins Coloradoan, announced it will “force thousands of its employees to take a week off without pay in an effort to avoid layoffs.” So we may find out who’s at the bottom of the totem pole at 9News in the coming weeks if the cuts extend to on-air talent.
Seattle is feeling our pain. Hearst announced it will shut down – or at least move to an online only format – the Seattle Post-Intelligencer if a buyer cannot be found in the next 60 days.
And the media layoffs continue. 5280 publisher Dan Brogan confirmed in a blog post what we had been hearing for a couple of weeks – that two staffers were let go due to softening ad sales. But the layoff of the magazine’s director of digital media because “we no longer have the luxury of living in the future” belies an interesting – and potentially dangerous – strategy for weathering the economic downturn. With Denver Magazine representing a more sustained threat than 5280 staffers originally anticipated (compare their recent page counts), will the retreat give Denver Magazine a greater opportunity to establish a relationship with younger audiences that expect a compelling online presence?
Westword is not immune from the advertising crunch hitting Denver’s newspapers. The weekly alternative let three staffers go – assistant calendar editor Amber Taufen and staff writers Adam Cayton-Holland and Lisa Rab. Michael Roberts at Westword has the details.
Mid-January is shaping up to be a pivotal time in the history of Denver newspapers. Scripps will decide whether to shut down the Rocky Mountain News, and the Denver Newspaper Agency has issued an ultimatum to six unions to agree to $20 million in wage and benefit concessions by Jan. 16 or … (insert evil Dean Singleton laugh here)… “face even worse consequences.”
Fox31 morning news anchor Steve Kelley says being laid off was “a shock … it’s like a death.” But, he adds, you can expect him to rebound and pursue other television and radio opportunities in Denver.
In an effort to save the Rocky Mountain News, staffers have joined together to start the Web site I Want My Rocky, which encourages readers to write letters to the Scripps board, the DOJ, and Colorado’s Congressional delegation.
Michael Roberts at Westword looks beyond all the posturing and spin and finds that the economy and Denver Post Publisher Dean Singleton are conspiring to kill the Rocky Mountain News.
And the hits just keep coming. Former 9News sports anchor Kevin Corke has been laid off from NBC’s Washington bureau where he served as the network’s Sunday White House reporter. Corke, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CU-Boulder, left 9News for ESPN, and later joined NBC. Corke’s NBC colleagues Bob Faw and Jeannie Ohm also were let go.
Fox31 weekday morning anchor Steve Kelley is the latest big-name, big-paycheck Denver news personality to be let go (see Ernie Bjorkman and Bob Kendrick). Kelley was a victim of the station’s “belt-tightening,” according to Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post, and he will not be replaced. Kelley spent nearly two decades at KOA Radio (850 AM) before joining Fox in 2005.
While we have all been distracted locally by the Rocky Mountain News’ situation, here’s what has been going on outside of Denver during the past week:
Again, that was the past week. In total, Ad Age estimates that the media industries “have shed more than 30,000 jobs in 2008. … That’s about 3.5% of the total media work force of 858,000. Since the bubble-inflated high-water mark in 2000, media has lost more than 200,000 jobs.” For those of us with journalism degrees and newspaper reporting/editing jobs on our resumes, the profound sadness we feel for the newspaper industry is almost indescribable.
Broomfield-based Vail Resorts will lay off 50 employees, eliminate 100 open positions, suspend its match of employees’ 401(k) contributions and defer merit pay increases as it deals with a significant drop in advance bookings. Joanne Kelley at the Rocky has the details.
Coverage of the news that the Rocky Mountain News will be sold or shut down is significant today. Among the angles:
Things aren’t looking good on Colfax, if you believe the rumors (from very connected people). Word on the street is that Scripps continues to shop the Rocky Mountain News, and that it will shut it down if a buyer isn’t found by mid-January.
UPDATE: Mark Harden at the Denver Business Journal has the details.
The New York Times gives a shout-out to Denver’s own Ernie Bjorkman, in which he opines, “I don’t think we’re going to see the anchor people grow old with the audience anymore.”
“Retired” Rocky Mountain News media reporter Dusty Saunders is getting more column inches than … well, name a reporter who still works there. First, Dusty names names (and salaries) on Bob Kendrick’s departure from 9News. Then, Dusty is the first to report that 9News is offering buyouts to employees older than 55 years who have 10 years or more with the station.
And if that weren’t enough, Dusty today digs into the most recent four-week rating period that were measured by “Local People Meters,” the A.C. Nielsen’s new electronic measurement technology. The results:
10 p.m. Monday-Sunday Newscasts
1. 9News/NBC – 16.8 (+0.2 from 2007)
2. CBS4 – 11.5 (-2.5 from 2007)
3. KMGH/ABC – 9.9 (-1.0 from 2007)
The number of unemployed Coloradans “surged” in October, rising to 5.7 percent, driven in part by layoffs at companies such as ProLogis, MDC Holdings, United Launch Alliance, Janus Capital, Western Union and Sun Microsystems. Jamie Paton at the Rocky Mountain News has the details.
It’s not just PR agencies that are suffering from reduced client budgets. PRNewswire has eliminated 25 positions “due to the loss of market share” and its president will step down in the first half of 2009.
Kelly Pascal Gould of Pascal PR points us to Stop the Presses, a documentary about the troubled newspaper industry that will appear at the Starz Film Festival today at 4 p.m. Patty Calhoun at Westword has the details on its premier yesterday in the auditorium at the Denver Newspaper Agency, which, according to former Post columnist Al Lewis, was “like showing a horror film inside a graveyard.”
Sun Microsystems, which has been chasing Crocs for the title of worst Colorado-related investment play of 2008, announced it will cut 6,000 employees, which translates to approximately 18 percent of its workplace. It is unknown how many of those cuts will come from the company’s Broomfield campus.
Women and Hispanics are bearing the brunt of Colorado’s weakening economy, according to an analysis of BLS data by the Denver Business Journal.
JohnstonWells has grown to be the largest public relations agency in Denver, but even it hasn’t escaped the effects of the softening Denver market. The agency let three staffers go in the past few weeks “after looking at our projections and evaluating the economic realities many companies are facing,” according to President/COO GG Johnston.
And JohnstonWells isn’t alone. Last June, Schenkein reduced its headcount by nearly one-third, and a number of agencies continue to quietly downsize through attrition.
The Vail weekly newspaper Vail Trail has ceased publication after 46 years, a casualty of the economic downturn.
It looks like Bob Kendrick is no fan of Dusty Saunders after Dusty guesstimated (incorrectly, Bob asserts) the salaries of various Denver TV newsers. And, no, Steve Saunders wasn’t among those whose salaries were listed.
Roger Fillion at the Rocky reports his paper will be spared as parent company Scripps prepares to layoff 400 workers and eliminate its dividend.
Dusty Saunders at the Rocky Mountain News conducts the most extensive post mortem to date on Bob Kendrick’s departure from 9News, and concludes that he is a victim of the sagging economy. Dusty also guesstimates the annual salaries of various local news personalities:
- Jim Benemann, CBS4 – $700,000
- Adele Arakawa 9News – $500,000
- Bob Kendrick, 9News – $400,000
- Mike Nelson, Channel 7 – $400,000
- Kathy Sabine, 9News – $400,000
We have been chronicling (anecdotally) the Qwest layoffs for the past few months, and now the company has disclosed a cumulative number: 1,200 jobs, or 3 percent of its workforce. Based on our conversations with Qwest employees, that number seems awfully low.
A PRNewswer survey finds 68 percent of PR execs feel their jobs are “very” or “somewhat” secure.
If you are a Denver Post copyeditor or graphic artist, it may be time to give you union rep a quick buzz. Post publisher Dean Singleton told the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association that papers should explore outsourcing domestically or internationally for nearly every aspect of their operations. He pointed to copyediting and design jobs that could easily be outsourced overseas, noting, “In today’s world, whether your desk is down the hall or around the world, from a computer standpoint, it doesn’t matter.” USA Today has the details.
Here at the Denver PR Blog, we are committed to covering Ernie Bjorkman the way Penny Parker covers Wendy Aiello Trista and Ryan (seriously, Penny, we wish them the best but their 15 minutes of fame was up four-and-a-half years ago. Let it go). So in that spirit, we offer you the following “Ernie Update” sponsored by Andrew Hudson’s Jobs List, Denver’s leading purveyor of marketing-related jobs:
Ernie is headed to his mountain home in South Fork to become a veterinary technician.
An update from last week’s update: Ernie Bjorkman’s bio has now reappeared on the CW2 Web site.
The details of the CW2 layoffs are starting to emerge, and Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post reports that more than 25 staffers are being let go. Anchor Ernie Bjorkman, a fixture of Denver television news for 26 years, is the highest-profile employee to be let go, although he will remain on the air for the next three months.
UPDATE: And, gracious to the end, Fox 31’s Dennis Leonard (yes, the guy who discovered John Mayer, Maroon 5 and Five for Fighting) has wasted no time marginalizing Ernie Bjorkman. Here is Ernie’s CW2 bio prior to the layoff announcement, and here is the new-and-improved version.
We noted last month that the Fox31/CW2 news “marketing agreement” would likely result in layoffs, and today we have learned those layoffs will be “significant.” A CW2 official confirmed that news director Carl Bilek was among those notified today they are being let go, but the official refused to discuss whether any on-air personalities have been affected. Mark Harden at the DBJ has the details.
The Boulder Daily Camera is moving its remaining printing and packaging operations from Boulder to Denver and plans to lay off nearly 30 more workers by the end of this month.
The Qwest layoff rumors are reaching a fevered pitch. Anyone have the details?
The consolidation continues. Fox31 and CW2 today announced a “marketing agreement” effective Oct. 1 that will have the two stations sharing news, sales, operations and engineering services. CW2 also will relocate from its Greenwood Village headquarters to the Fox31 building downtown. Fox31 GM Dennis Leonard confirmed what everyone already knew: layoffs are coming. Said Leonard: “(We are) evaluating how things will change, (including) evaluating the talent and people we have on both sides.”
Interestingly, neither Fox31 or CW2 has the news on its Web site yet, but you can see the coverage here: Denver Post, Denver Business Journal, 9News, MediaWeek, Westword.
That’s the rumor. Apparently the loss of the Qwest account was too much.
UPDATE: Yes, sadly McClain Finlon is closing its doors. See Cathey Finlon’s comment below. Denver Post coverage is here and Denver Business Journal coverage is here.
Newspaper publisher (and KUSA/Channel 9 parent) Gannett is in the process of laying off 1,000 employees from its local newspapers across the country. Reuters has the details.
Crocs laid off 75 employees today, which represents about 4 percent of its workforce. Crocs said the majority of the layoffs were in Colorado.
This development could be trouble for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.
David Milstead, the smartest financial beat writer in town and someone who has skin in the game, acknowledges that Denver can’t support two newspapers and that Scripps and MediaNews Group need to start deciding what the staff of a combined, single newspaper/online property will look like.
The Denver Business Journal reports that “the number of Coloradans who lost their jobs through mass layoffs more than doubled” from April to May.
Colorado Ski Country USA is reeling from Vail Resorts’ decision last week to withdraw from the trade association because it didn’t focus enough on public policy issues and lobbying efforts. The move by Vail Resorts effectively cut CSCUSA’s annual budget from $3.5 million to $1.7 million, and the trade organization has responded by eliminating a third of its staff and dropping almost all of its domestic marketing efforts.
The general economic malaise that has affected other cities’ PR agencies is beginning to affect some of Denver’s consumer-focused agencies. Several agencies have seen their staffs dwindle by as much as 50 percent, and word today is that Schenkein let six staffers go this week, which represents approximately 30 percent of its employee base.
Said Schenkein’s Leanna Clark, “We had some client losses late last year, and while we’ve brought in several new pieces of business in 08, they’ve not offset those losses. This, combined with the current economic outlook, has led us to reduce staff accordingly in order to realign our expectations and goals for the year.”
We expect that you will see a number of other Denver agencies shrink over the coming months, whether through formal layoffs or simply attrition. We give credit to Schenkein for being generous with its severance packages, though. Clark noted that “our top priority in this was to ensure we were treating all our staff, both those we’ve had to let go as well those who continue with us, with the utmost honesty, respect and dignity.”
United Airlines will lay off 1,500 employees, mothball 100 planes and kill its Ted brand in response to high fuel costs.