The Oregon Media Central blog got the scoop on the Register-Guard layoffs of 16 staffers this week.
OMC posts comments from a reporter with an inside view of the layoffs (apparently eight newsroom plus eight other):
"I watched my first supervisor in the RG newsroom hand over his badge. This is a young guy with very old-school news values. He taught me a lot - he was always trying to get me to make one more call. Today I watched him check his mail one last time and walk by me with a quick wave I could tell was final. Then I watched one of my best friends at the paper go in the office from which the manager had just come. I watched her head nod from behind. I watched her walk out with it held high. Then I approached her and grabbed her cold hand when she cried. With two other bewildered journalists, we walked her outside. She looked really nice today. She had seen this coming. We lost some impeccable instincts today."
Having missed the story of its own layoffs, the RG reported the next day on the job loss in a story buried in its business section.
The paper reported layoffs of 16 positions, a 6 percent reduction bringing it's staff down to 305. Last summer, the paper cut 12 percent of its staff.
The current 305 staff figure is down from a reported 425 a decade ago. The paper has lost about 12 percent of its subscribers over that period.
The Register-Guard reported this week that its advertising revenues are down 16 percent below budget for the year and down 25 percent below budget this summer. The R-G's profit margin reached about 30 percent in the previous decade, but the Baker family has refused to say how much money they are making now on their newspaper.
We got a letter today (Dec. 12) from The Oregonian announcing the paper will no longer be delivered to Eugene area homes, businesses and newsracks beginning Jan. 1. Sunday delivery will continue, but daily and Saturday delivery will cease. You can have the paper mailed but chances are it wonâ€™t arrive until much later, if not the next day. We havenâ€™t heard about Salem delivery. Read The Oregonian online at www.oregonlive.com
Oregonâ€™s largest daily has been losing subscribers for years. Back in 1999, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association listed its daily paid circulation at 431,000. In early 2008, ONPA reported a drop to 310,000, a difference of about 121,000. We suspect the numbers are even worse today. The Register-Guardâ€™s circulation during the same time frame dropped from 78,000 to 68,700, a loss of about 9,300 subscribers.
New ONPA circulation numbers should be out in early 2009. Expect some even more shocking numbers. Want to own a daily newspaper? A lot of them are for sale, but there aren't many buyers.