This from Andrew Kreig:
Some on the Alumni list might be interested in this Medill analysis of layoffs this week at three Newhouse papers in Alabama’s biggest cities and at its paper in New Orleans:
Medill / Northwestern University / Poynter, What the future of news looks like in Alabama after Advance cuts staff by 400, Steve Myers, June 14, 2012.
Most coverage of Advance’s decision to stop printing the four papers daily and cut staff has focused on The Times-Picayune. It’s easy to see why: New Orleans is a storied city, and its newspaper has told those stories well….What’s happening in Alabama looks like an extension of the strategy that the company spearheaded in Michigan.
First it replaced The Ann Arbor News with AnnArbor.com and curtailed publishing, then it extended the approach to newspapers around the state and gave them one online home: Mlive.com. You can get a picture of what the Alabama Media Group will look like by seeing what was cut this week and what was left.
First, the numbers: The news staff in Birmingham has been cut from 102 to 41, according to lists included in Tuesday’s severance offers. (Chuck Clark, managing editor of the News, said in a comment that this figure is off; the true numbers, he said, are 47 left of 112). In Mobile’s newsroom, about 20 of 70 or so are left, according to a source there. (The original version of this story estimated it at about 16.) And in Huntsville, 15 people remain out of 53 in the newsroom, a 72 percent reduction. Overall in Huntsville, 102 of 149 people lost their jobs. Those cuts at the papers come after two rounds of buyouts already had thinned staff. (All sources asked to remain anonymous because they’re worried about keeping their severance or the jobs they were offered Tuesday.)
I do a fair amount of blogging in Alabama, and three times this week was invited by the five-state radio station WWL-AM and FM to comment on developments in New Orleans. So there seems to remain an appetite for news, just as we might suspect. It’s just that it’s hard for news organizations to implement a paying model anything like the old days, except in narrow circumstances.