Intern's blog: SP Times layoffs "almost certain," according to publisher
The worst thing about being in Los Angeles for an extended period, is missing out when news breaks back home. Last year, I was headed to a press conference here for the debut of TMZ's TV show when Creative Loafing announced it was buying the Washington City Paper and the Reader in Chicago.
Now, the Poynter Institute's media news site Romenesko has unearthed a blog post from an intern at the St. Petersburg Times quoting publisher Marty Petty saying layoffs are "almost certain" after our first round of buyouts and that bureaus will be consolidated in size, starting with the Pasco bureau. This may come as news to many full-time staffers, who did not hear such direct language during huge meetings with Petty and editor in chief Paul Tash weeks ago.
(UPDATE: it appears the post has been removed from the intern's blog, so my previous link has been removed as well)
This is the second time a blog post from an intern has delivered insider news on staff reductions at a Tampa Bay area newspaper. My Facebook friend Wayne Garcia published an interesting story in this week's Creative Loafing which mentions Tampa Tribune intern Jessica DaSilva -- who wrote an earnest post about the newspaper's changing focus amid layoffs and earned a huge ration of criticism as a result (I think much of that was misplaced rage directed by folks who are highly critical of the Tribune's management).
Wayne also offered a blog item about something I wasn't aware of: The Times has worked out a deal to distribute Creative Loafing's newspapers, despite also publishing a competing free weekly, TBT*. Garcia says Creative Loafing sent a memo to its staff saying the deal would begin July 30, but since I've been in Los Angeles, I haven't heard of a similar note circulated at the Times.
I have resisted writing such instant blog posts from meetings at the Times, because I want people to feel free to express themselves without worrying their words might be splashed out in public. Many longtime friends and colleagues are losing jobs in this climate, and I've tried to be respectful of their privacy while also informing readers in this space of important developments.
It's also why I've tried to avoid publishing rumors about how many jobs may be cut here or there. I hate to cause hysteria without fully knowing the facts.
But it turns out these interns may create a new standard. I just hope they don't suffer too many consequences from revealing the substances of meetings where participants didn't necessarily know they were speaking for publication.