Daily Archives: January 30, 2009

Local Newsers: Doing More With Less, Making More Mistakes? Ponder the Hamster’s Mugshot

Look, we’re all doing the best we can. Our newsrooms are smaller, jobs are being eliminated, people are learning to do jobs they’ve never done before; producers making their own graphics, reporters shooting their own stories, etc. So is this a pretty process? Hardly.

So. This brings us to the hamster who was falsely accused of a nasty crime in Connecticut this week. Kinda funny, kinda sad, and kinda a this-is-where-we-are moment in local news: those fatter newsrooms may have had duplication and excess layers, but they also had more eyes and people who could look at things before they got on the air.

Doesn’t that matter? Or are we all too stressed to get the show on the air and keep our jobs to worry about what the product looks like anymore?

Whoa. Was I just preaching? Watch the clip.

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“Sudden, Devastating:” Media General Layoffs Hit Birmingham, Charleston

Media General’s corporate budget cutting hit two Southern markets Thursday, with employees cut at WCBD/Charleston and WVTM/Birmingham.

WCBD anchor Warren Peper tells the Post and Courier “I’m done.  I’m no longer employed.  It is sudden and it is devastating, but it’s very awkward for me to bemoan my situation.  Many others are losing jobs in the Low Country and around the country.”

Warren Peper/WCBD

Warren Peper/WCBD

The extent of the layoffs at WCBD remains unclear, but Peper told the charleston.net he believed at least one other newsroom employee was cut, a photographer.

In Birmingham, Media General’s WVTM laid off ten, across news, sales and marketing, but no on-air positions were affected. VTM GM Gene Kirkconnell told Birmingham News TV writer Alec Harvey:  “As a result of the continued business recession, WVTM has been affected by lower advertising spending.  Parting with valued employees is difficult.”  Kirkconnell said no more layoffs were anticipated.

FULL DISCLOSURE:  Gene and I worked together at WVTM years ago as the nightside reporter/photog team;  he’s a fantastic guy and close friend.  If anybody feels lousy about putting people out of work, it’s him.

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