Star Search: As Expected, Star Unleashes Furloughs Instead of Layoffs

Nothing like being A over Tea Kettle in a financial freefall….

That pretty much describes the current state affairs in of the newspaper industry. Publishers continue to talk of better days ahead – after our long, national nightmare – the coming-soon, double dip recession. Which naively ignores the long term downward prospects of the print news industry.

Bringing us to the mandatory one week staff furloughs announced at the Star.

They went down this week as both suggested and predicted by KC Confidential. With a 32 percent earnings drop in its 2nd quarter, McClatchy had to make some serious cuts. No question. But forcing Parrish to do the dirty work one month into her KC Star honeymoon would have placed her in a very unsavory position.

Getting rid of two highly paid columnist positions was likely a savings. Especially given the axing of one.

Now let’s do some math on the furloughs. Which are forced, unpaid, one-week vacations. Vacations that have to be taken between now and year’s end.

Let’s say 500 staffers take paycheck-free weeks. That’s the approximate equivalent of laying off (and not having to pay) 10 staff members for a year. Pretty darn good savings for the Star and nobody’s career comes crashing to an end.

How it went over today with the news staff?

"Well, people were kind of just expecting it," says one higher up. "But in general people were glad because before we’d get furloughs and job cuts and this time we didn’t have any job cuts. Everybody says that they’d rather have the furloughs than a job cut – they’d rather have two furloughs than a job cut."

And while no additional cuts are known to have been made, "They cut our 401(k)s a couple years ago," says a Star staffer. "The company stopped matching the contributions."

As for not replacing axed Local Section columnists with actual columnists, "I agree," says the staffer. "It’s so lame."

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3 Responses to Star Search: As Expected, Star Unleashes Furloughs Instead of Layoffs

  1. smartman says:

    Momma Mi-ia Still MIA
    Had lunch as part of a group of 20 today. 13 White, 4 Hispanic and 3 Black. Probably close to a 50/50 mix of Dems and Repubs. All are self employed in the real estate, remodeling or construction biz.

    Out of the group only two still subscribe to the Star. Others cancelled their subscriptions between 6 months and 4 years ago. NUMBER ONE REASON for cancelling? The Star is a left wing commie rag that doesn’t accurately reflect the values or idealogy of the metro area

    NUMBER TWO REASON…Awful content from reporters, columnists and editorialists.

    Seems to me that a move to the center or right of center regarding POV and disposition will do a hell of a lot more to improve the fortunes of the Star than furloughs.


    I’m trying to picture ‘smart’man asking twenty people if they subscribe to the star and I just can’t see it….let alone him being out in public.

    also, hearne, did you know? MNI did a salary percentage match to people’s 401Ks last year. OH YOU DIDN’T? Yeah I didn’t think so.

    I didn’t think there was an ax so big you could grind it for three years…but here we are.

  3. Hearne says:

    Close but no ax grind
    Just covering the media, same as when I was with the star. Lotsa thin skin in this game. But I really don’t blame you

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