Birmingham News and Other Papers Fire Staff

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Birmingham News & Other Papers Let Staff Go

Birmingham News & Other Papers Let Staff Go

Today, the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times, Mobile Press-Register and New Orleans Times-Picayune newspapers met with staffers, one-by-one, to tell them their roles in the newly redesigned digital-centric platform.

  1. Mood at the Times-Picayune “pretty funereal” as journalists there & in Ala. start learning today about their futures: 5n
  2. Sources inside the Birmingham News tell WBHM that staffers were told that they fell into one of three categories: 

    “Tier One — You still have a job, though your duties may be modified.”
    “Tier Two — You don’t have a job, but we invite you to apply for these positions which will now be open.”
    “Tier Three — You don’t have a job.”
  3. Advance Publications officials reportedly met with staffers alphabetically. 
  4. Chuck Dean (@BhamnewsDean) senior reporter covering politics at B’ham News, told his job doesn’t fit new template 5n
  5. “I don’t have a print-first philosophy. I have a journalism-first philosophy…” – @BhamnewsDean rg/latest-news/mediawire/176888/employee-meetings-scheduled-today-at-advance-papers-in-new-orleans-alabama-times-picayune-birmingham-news-mobile-press-register-huntsville-times/
  6. My 27-year career at The Birmingham News officially ends Sept. 30. Very sad day for me and my colleagues.
  7. @Birmingham_News friends out: Dean, Orndorff, Spencer, Martin, Scarritt, Underwood, Stewart. So sorry for what you’re going through
  8. Bham News reporter on FB: “It looks like News will layoff ~107 people, incl. ~61 in newsroom. Very sad day for this paper & community.”
  9. Wade Kwon (an award-winning blogger and former newspaper reporter with the now defunct Birmingham Post-Herald) has started a list of Birmingham staffers and their status.  

    And Weld for Birmingham has intriguing details on what some of the reporters/columnists who have managed to keep their jobs will be doing (columnist and WBHM contributor John Archibald will be a “local buzz reporter.”    On his Facebook page he says, “I don’t know what that means, but it sounds … intoxicating.”

    By noon, the extent of the cuts were becoming clear. 
  10. Times-Pic cuts 1/3 of staff, including 1/4 of combined print/online newsroom. Total Advance cuts today: about 600 5n
  11. In New Orleans, Times-Picayune readers have started a Facebook page (though it hasn’t been updated since late May) and petition to save the paper and its employees.  Curiously (or not), no such public campaigning in Birmingham. 
  12. The layoffs have started. This is a tragedy for New Orleans and for good journalism. Please sign this petition. The Times-Picayune is a good paper and deserves our support. 
  13. Shared my personal story in Comments. Upset: Layoffs under way at Times-Picayune, Advance’s Alabama papers | Poynter.: rg/latest-news/mediawire/176888/employee-meetings-scheduled-today-at-advance-papers-in-new-orleans-alabama-times-picayune-birmingham-news-mobile-press-register-huntsville-times/#.T9fPx_AHaLI.twitter
  14. It’s still not clear how extensive the cuts are at or how the move will change the web publication’s structure.  There is word, though, from Wade Kwon at Media of Birmingham that Advance Publications has fired three of the eight members at Birmingham Magazine, including managing editor Carla Jean Whitley (@bhamboxset).  
  15. For background on this developing story, listen to WBHM’s interviews with Cindy Martin (President and CEO of and newly-named chief of the Alabama Media Group, the organization that will head up editorial, marketing and advertising for the new newspaper/digital venture), Micheline Maynard (former NY Times Detroit Bureau chief who’s covering the cutbacks at the Times-Picayune for and communications blogger (and former Birmingham News reporter) Carl Carter.

    Also interesting… check out blogger Andre Natta’s speculations on what could be behind the move to a three-day-a-week newspaper.  
    David Griner has set up a Twitter Feed and Facebook page of Alabama journalism/communications jobs to help those displaced by the changes find new work. They’re using #ALNewsJobs.
  16. This is a developing story.  Email updates to [email protected]


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