Thursday, March 18, 2010


I was about half an hour late for work on Tuesday because I made a last-minute stop at the store to pick up some party items.

Tuesday afternoon, I was set to head to Philadelphia for an editor's conference. My first day back to the office - Friday - we're hosting a St. Patrick's Day birthday party for two co-workers and I wanted to be ready.

Dragging along my laptop bag, my lunch and several grocery bags, I stepped off the elevator Tuesday morning to find everyone assembled in the conference room.

"Oh well," I thought as I took a quick peek in there. "Must be just advertising people. They probably don't need me."

I continued to the lunchroom, dumped my bags on the counter, and turned around to find the advertising director right behind me.

"Do I need to be in there?" I asked as I saw his urgent expression.

He nodded.

"Yes, but first I need to tell you that (our publisher) is no longer with us," he said. "Now, come."

I rushed after him into the conference room only to find my former publisher stand there giving out his cell phone number to the staff in case of further questions. In the room was also the director of human resources.

Later that afternoon, we got an e-mail from our new CEO detailing the layoffs in the company. Eight positions in total were cut - four senior officials (3 VPs and 1 corporate human resources director) and four publishers at smaller newspapers.

The scariest thing? They will not be replaced.

Instead of having someone there for us at all hours of the day - someone in charge - we are now left with an empty office and a phone number for our new Connecticut Cluster publisher in New Haven. Of course, he'll only be there for 8 weeks or so, until he moves to his new position in Philadelphia. Then someone else will fill that role, and we have no idea who that person is.

Much to think about at the editorial conference for the past two days, and also much to discuss with the new CEO. He explained the reasoning behind it to me this morning after I confronted him via e-mail about his decision - cutting management in order to put more editorial people on the street, basically trying to undo all the damage the Journal Register Company has done over the past 2 decades.

Will it be that easy? I don't know. But we have been promised at least one new digital reporter in our cluster, and that person will most likely end up in Middletown (as a symbolic gesture since our paper was the one who lost a publisher).

Now I just have to figure out how we go from here. Lot's of new ideas from the conference. I just have to figure out how to get everyone else on board. Before, two of us had a vision. Now, it's just me.

(You can read more about this on my work blog HERE).

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