Blog Post

Newspaper Roundup: Bay Area Buyouts; OC Register; Scripps Paper Folds

MediaNews Group’s Bay Area News Group offers buyouts to all employees: In what may be the most drastic move yet by a newspaper publisher — short of shutting down — the Bay Area News Group is offering all employees — roughly 1,100 — a buyout. Romenesko has the memo from John Armstrong, president and publisher. It’s a little like double-secret probation: the company won’t say how many buyouts are needed to avoid layoffs. It’s also not promising to accept all takers. But Armstrong promises “the number of jobs that will be eliminated will be significant.” Voluntary severance is twice the amount of involuntary. Tucked in towards the end, this cheery note: “Personally, I still believe in the power of newspapers and, specifically, the power of our newspapers and Web sites.” This doesn’t include the San Jose Mercury News, which announced its third round of staff cuts.

Orange County Register publisher plans to shrink paper, expand web: In his first interview since taking the job in September, OC Register publisher Terry Horne described a three-pronged approach: expanded web, smaller paper, free community newspapers. From the Register: “The subscription-based Register will include premium content targeted at a mostly older readership. Free community weeklies go to a broader base with a hyper-local focus. OCregister.com will provide free content to a younger audience. Local advertisers will have a similar choice to get their message out on any or all of these platforms.” Ad revenue is down 14 percent, newsprint is up and paid circ is still dropping. The Register already has dropped its daily business section and moved to zoned local editions. Plans call for a new destination portal for visitors: www.orangecounty.com. (Via Romenesko)

Albuquerque Tribune prints last edition Saturday: After failing to find a buyer, Scripps (NYSE: SSP) told employees today that the last edition of the afternoon paper will be published Saturday. The paper is part of a JOA with the Albuquerque Journal; Scripps will be a partner in the remaining company. Daily circ in January didn’t break 10,000, compared with 42,000 in 1988.