The news out of Salt Lake City was shocking enough: Out of fewer than 200 staffers, the Deseret News laid off 57 full-time and 28 part-time staffers.
That’s 43 percent of the staff hacked, effective immediately, reports Paul Beebe of the rival Salt Lake Tribune.
The reduction includes “the entire design department,” one staffer tells me.
I’ve heard of papers eliminating their entire graphics operations. But never their design departments. Presumably, pages will now be assembled by copy editors. If they didn’t get laid off, too.
Take a look at how the paper played this massacre on A1:
Yeah. To “lead and to innovate.”
Other details reported from the debacle:
- The paper will consolidate newsgathering operations with a local TV station.
- The paper’s online team was not affected.
- The paper’s two top editors will also lose their jobs. Instead, they’ll work in advisory roles.
The full story may never come out, however. Beebe reports:
One staffer, who asked not to be named, said News executives instructed affected employees to be careful about talking to other media about their situations so as not to put their severance packages at risk.
Oh, yes. As news organizations, we’ll send reporters to the scene of layoffs and shutdowns and all sorts of events and we’ll ask and expect everyone to be transparent and forthcoming. Just don’t expect us to be transparent and forthcoming.
My old guide for laid-off visual journalists perhaps needs updating. But there’s still some good advice there from folks who have been through this. Find that here.
In case you’ve wondered what it would take “to lead and innovate,” check out this Thursday story by Salt Lake Tribune columnist Peg McEntee:
One of the top stories appearing on the Deseret News website Wednesday morning was about how Jewish and Mormon leaders had reconciled their differences regarding Holocaust victims and the LDS Churchâ€™s rite of baptism for the dead.
What got my attention was the byline on the story â€” Michael Purdy: Special to the Deseret News.
At least at the time, about 10:30 a.m., there was no indication that Purdy is a Salt Lake City-based spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It’s just amazing. Read McEntee’s entire column here.