Management at Deseret News Announces 43% Staff Cut Then Quotes Expert Calling Them “Courageous”

This very well could be the worst announcement explaining staff cuts I’ve ever seen.

In a rather typical move in the newspaper industry, the Deseret News in Utah has announced it will cut 43 percent of its workforce and plans a realignment to move to a more digital product.
“Today we have announced the reduction in our print work force by 57 full-time and 28 part-time employees, which reflects just over 43 percent of our work force,” said CEO and president Clark Gilbert.

Then the paper announced how it will use different tools to supplement coverage, like integrate with the companies other entities and use a system of contributors. So far, Deseret News is doing nothing too unusual. But then they try to act as if this move is “courageous.”

“All of us involved in the newspaper business have been challenged to adapt our traditional newspaper business model to our new realities,” said senior vice president of E.W. Scripps and chairman of the Newspaper Association of America Mark Contreras in the release announcing the news cuts. “The Deseret News team has showed courageous leadership, not just to make the difficult decisions around costs, but to define a broader and more digitally-focused future.”

The cuts are bad enough, but people in the news industry have come to expect them. Management, own up to the cuts and don’t try to make it sound as if this is any bigger than the paper’s bottom line. And, worst of all, don’t act as if your move is “courageous.”

Pull the band-aid, let employees stew for a little, and then make the moves that will create a profitable business. Don’t try to deflect accountability. It’s disingenuous and just plain insulting.

Photo by Italian voice