Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crying in the Parking Lot

More Statesman Layoffs

The Austin American-Statesman experienced another round of layoffs today (Tuesday, October 11, 2011). Some 53 newspaper employees got pink slips when they arrived at work.

“We did restructure a few departments today but there were no newsroom changes in order to continue providing the same level of commitment to content for our readers,” said Jane Williams, American-Statesman publisher.

There was reportedly weeping in the newspaper’s parking lot as the former employees left the building.

This is third round of layoffs at Austin’s daily newspaper this year alone. Last June, a dozen top-notch staffers left the newsroom, taking with them years of experience, goodwill, talent, and knowledge of Austin and its history. Another 21 one workers accepted voluntary separation or retirement packages also.

Former editor Fred Zipp was another significant loss for the newspaper. After the second round, Zipp commented in an editorial: “We lost a heartbreaking amount of passion, intelligence and experience.”

Zipp, himself, left September 1st after 32 years of editing newspapers in Texas and Florida. “I felt my passion for the job wane,” Zipp said at the time. Debbie Hiott remains the “interim editor” at the American-Statesman.

The layoffs today may result in the consolidation of some jobs and perhaps make those who remain do more with less, but Williams says it will not affect the quality of reporting. Williams stressed that this is a “restructuring”, and the Statesman will be hiring to accomplish the tasks at hand and ahead in several departments.

“The Statesman is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our audience and advertisers. We adjust our staffing levels in various departments and functions to meet those needs on an ongoing basis. While we may be evaluating a restructure of specific positions throughout our organization, we continue to make strategic hires and invest in the community,” Williams said.