Everything Old is Still Old: Tribune to Redesign! Shrink! Eliminate!

samzell_6.jpgIt looks like things in newspaper land really aren’t so rosy, particularly if you happen to be employed by a paper owned by the Tribune Co.

Yesterday Tribune head Sam Zell announced during a conference call that the company will “quickly” be cutting costs at papers like The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune by “printing fewer papers and employing fewer journalists.” At the LAT (when will this paper catch a break, one wonders) they aim to achieve this by eliminating “82 news pages per week…giving the paper a 50-50 ratio of news to advertising” (not exactly the NYT’s diet plan, is it?). Somehow they hope to impose these “deep cuts” in “newsprint costs and newspaper staffing… without major adverse effects on content.” Hmm, will buyout packages also include a bridge somewhere?

According to E&P one of the new “strategies” will involve “measuring the productivity of journalists,” because as we all know when it comes to reliable news, speed and size are of the utmost importance! Also, no word whether online contributions will be included in the measurements.

In a memo to staff outlining the changes Zell concluded,

We started this year by rattling the cages, and since then we’ve continued to reinforce the urgency for change. We expect by now you understand the ‘do-or-die’ challenge that has been placed in front of us. We now have a roadmap to turn that challenge into opportunity.