Where do the PG buyouts end?

According to the PG itself, Wednesday was the deadline for 195 PG staffers to accept a 2nd round of buyouts. 195 editorial staff must represent the bulk of the newsroom down there, not just those considering retirement. Except in dribs and drabs it sounds like we won't learn the complete list of takers for some time, if ever. Thursday Samantha Bennett wrote the semi-obligatory column saying goodbye. Because this second round covers so many folks in the PG newsroom, it may be surprising who takes the offer in the end.

Back to the original list of buyouts though. The public at large does not know who took the original PG buyout offer. Here is a list swiped verbatim from the Pittsburgh Media Scoops and Gossip Forum, so take it for what it is worth (i.e. unverified and potentially incorrect). The first round of takers for the PG's recent buyout offer included:
Phil Aselrod, David Bear, Dave Budinger, Arlene Burnett, Bill Campbell, Karen Franschini, Joe Grata, David Guo, Monica Haynes, Paul Meyer, Bill Moushey, Marlene Parrish, Dave Peters, Chris Rawson, Carolyn Reuter, Dan Rick, Cristina Rouvalis, Bob Smizik, Tom Sterling, Larry Walsh, Jim White

That list does not include book editor Bob Hoover which I had said earlier over on Nullspace was on the list. I had heard he had taken the offer from more than a couple sources, but it seems to not be the case. Some of that list list was written up in the CP last week along with some of Potter's discussion of what it all means for the ink distribution business.

Each departing journalist or editor has their own story I am sure. Between Grata and Bear the PG is losing both ends of the travel equation is one thing I notice. Others have filled long time beats mostly on their own. It will be telling to see what beats get filled as they reconstitute themselves down there. I still wonder what their real target the PG ownership wants to get down to. The goal may be to get to a breakeven level of operating expenses, but in the business world clearing out your payroll is often a precursor to getting a potential buyer onboard.

I have no idea if the PG will be sold, though the rumor it has been shopped around are not new. There isn't that much chance that Pittsburgh will soon become a no-newspaper city as Governing put it last week. The Trib, whether it survives on its owners largess or not, had its 5 year plan approved recently I hear... so whatever that level of support is, it does not seem to be an immediate issue. If the Trib wound up as the survivor in a one-newspaper city that support might actually wind up generating a decent investment return. That is if newspapers survive at all. If you didn't catch it, one of the biggest meta-media stories of last month was that both major Detroit newspapers are ending daily home delivery. It's not a new idea to think about whether the future of the newspaper industry exists only as nonprofits.


1 Response to "Where do the PG buyouts end?"

Jonathan Potts said... 1/05/2009 9:35 AM

Actually, I believe the second round of buy-outs were offered to every single editorial employee.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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