While traveling this week, we managed to overlook the grim round of staff reductions announced at the AJC. Mostly Media did a nice job of covering it Wednesday. And the AJC itself, in an article written by Ken Foskett and Scott Thurston, gave the in-house madness as detached an analysis as one could ask.
Advertising revenue is down due to slumps in some of the newspaper’s largest advertising categories: Automobiles and real estate. And classifieds have shrunk thanks to free sites like Craig’s List. As a comment writer in Mostly Media notes, though, Craig’s List is also enduring growing pains as spammers choke the site.
The AJC is offering voluntary separation packages to nearly all of its employees who’ve been there five years or longer. According to an in-house memo from editor Julia Wallace, those staffers have until the end of July to decide whether to bail out voluntarily or roll the dice and try to avoid future layoffs. Some choice.
So wave bye-bye to the AJC’s separate weekly sections. We vividly remember when the AJC duked it out with the Gwinnett Daily News in the 1980s for eyeballs in that growing county. The AJC ended up absorbing the Gwinnett newspaper but maintained its daily Gwinnett section. No more.
This week’s announcement may benefit the Gwinnett Daily Post and Marietta Daily Journal. But the financials at those papers can’t be much better than the AJC’s.
In 2007, the AJC spun its reorganization and staff cuts as a way of making the newspaper serve its readers more efficiently. It came with a strong whiff of baloney. But there’s no such spin now. This is now about a once-proud major newspaper on the ropes, struggling to keep upright.