The Post and Courier joined a long line today, becoming the most recent newspaper to reveal signs of financial difficulty. The newspaper announced that it is offering employees a voluntary separation package of two weeks' pay for every year they've been with the company, up to one year's salary.
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With the rise of the Internet, newspapers are quickly become a cultural oddity.The buyouts can be largely attributed to: slumping circulation, rising energy and newsprint costs, and a decline in advertising revenue, particularly in the classified and real estate areas. The Charleston Regional Business Journal has a good writeup of all the nitty-gritty. Here's an excerpt:
The memo said the company is not seeking to eliminate a specific number of employees and has no plans for layoffs.
“If the company can reduce staffing enough by voluntary separations, we should not need to have layoffs,” the memo said. “But we cannot rule out layoffs if we are not able to reduce the staff through other measures such as the voluntary separation program and normal attrition.”
The announcement comes amid similar buyout offers and layoffs at many daily newspapers in the United States, including The State in Columbia and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, both owned by The McClatchy Co.
What it means
Newspapers are desperately trying to transition to the Web in a way that allows them to remain profitable. A report released today by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is evidence of that.
This Web site, TheDigitel.com, was created to find answers to these sets of problems. As such, we do not feel subject to the same problems thanks to our specialization by not expending resources doing what has been done already. The logic can be summed up thus: Why offer inferior online classified listings when Craigslist does a better job? Why write your own movie review when far better-equipped places already do them? Would it not be better to point your readers to these sources rather than build an inferior product?
We find it's better to communicate what is happening and where readers can learn more, and if something isn't being done, then fill that need. There's no point in five people chasing after the same ball. You can read more about our vision here.