The Washington Post

Times-Picayune publisher spews standard workforce-reduction garbage

The paper will issue an “enhanced” product on its reduced-pub days, featuring “a richer and deeper news, sports and entertainment report, as well as a full week’s worth of features such as society coverage, puzzles and comics.” There’s even some mention of “plans” to beef up food and dining coverage. A quote from Publisher Ashton Phelps Jr. puts a smiley spin on things: “I have run The Times-Picayune for over 32 years. I believe moving to a stronger digital focus positions the new company to continue to serve the needs of our various communities.”

Highly defensible stuff, in other words. The idea, as the Times-Picayune leaders are articulating it, is to save the journalism, not necessarily the medium. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Yet newspaper reductionism always includes a moment where the spin overreaches, and that invariably comes in the discussion of staff cuts. Here’s a sentence from the memo sent out this morning by Phelps. via Romenesko:

Many current employees of The Times-Picayune and will have the opportunity to grow with the new organizations, but the need to reallocate resources to accelerate the digital growth of NOLA Media Group will necessitate a reduction in the size of the workforce.

Bolded text added to highlight Latin-rooted corporate nonsense. Strikes me that if you reallocate to accelerate, you necessitate more people, not fewer people. The memo rhetoric is just another variation on the we’re-going-to-do-more-with-less cant that fools no one and insults everyone, every time.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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