Hearne: Layoffs, What Layoffs? Star Sales Staff Pigs Out, Celebrates $uccess

Long time no boots to asses, what gives?

I can’t remember the last time the Kansas City Star unleashed a round of cutbacks and/or layoffs. And that’s saying something. Yeah, they’re still choking out employee furloughs – forced, unpaid vacations. – And while I hate to jinx anyone – after all, I was one of the hundreds that took a bullet a few years back – it does seem quite remarkable.

I mean, the newspaper’s obituary page is chock full of former readers on a daily basis – so it’s not like its readership ranks are growing.

So what’s the deal?

Turns out the worm has temporarily turned at 18th and Grand and ad revenues are up, up, up…

"Yeah, advertising is celebrating big time," one Star staffer says. "The publisher just had a big party for them about a week ago in the Press Pavilion celebrating their success. They had a roast pig and alcohol and everything."

No such gaiety was lavished upon the lowly inked stained wretches who toil in the income-free zones.

That said, it’s not like the surviving newsies are kicking butt and taking names in a post Armageddon newspaper landscape. Not after years of wage freezes, benefits cutbacks, layoffs, furloughs, job insecurity and general uncertainty.

Add to that the reduced news output (fewer pages) being delivered to the driveways of its increasingly elderly readers and you have to wonder how much longer the newsprint game can continue without further cuts. Even given the prospects of an eventual economic rebound.

"I can’t understand why people spend the money for our paper when our circulation is still going down," the staffer says. "And this is at a time when people cancel their subscriptions during a political season because they get mad about our politics."

Hey, keep your fingers crossed.

But know somehow that things will even out and the Star will continue to shine.

Trust me.

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5 Responses to Hearne: Layoffs, What Layoffs? Star Sales Staff Pigs Out, Celebrates $uccess

  1. mike says:

    @hearne
    I am just curious. Do you know what percentage of their profits come from the sunday paper? Many people I know don’t subscribe but buy a sunday paper at the newsstands. It also seems to have a disproportionally greater amount of advertising than the other days.

  2. the dude says:

    Of course ad revenue
    is up, that is all that paper is these days, a bunch of ads. The vulture capitalists have truly ruined the great daily newspapers of Uhmerica, congratulations are inorder for somebody.

    You think any of these current incarnations would have the stones to print the Pentagon papers in this day and age?

  3. smartman says:

    Which Left Is Right?
    A good number of those sales people are making over $100,000.00, far more than their journalist brethren. So what happened to the whole from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs thingy? It’s OK for the Star to spout left wing dogma but when it comes to their own employees it’s a different story. Let them eat cake, or pig….or something.

  4. scoop says:

    STILL WAITING FOR PIGS TO FLY, HOWEVER
    I’m certainly happy for any little bit of good news we hear coming from 18th & Grand in light of the general economic situation. The year 2012 will see the All-Star game return to Kansas City, but it also marks the 35th anniversary of the best Royals team ever, a product of those aforementioned golden years of the ’70s, and, lest we forget, the 35th anniversary of the sale of The Star to Capital Cities, Inc. Thirteen years later my father walked out the front door of Nelson’s “castle” for the last time, ending a 45-year career with the paper on the very day that the evening edition was published for the final time, and the rest, as they say, is history. The paper is certainly thinner than it used to be, but I can’t say for sure that there is a higher percentage of advertising in it than there was, say, 35 years ago. The worm may have turned, but only a little, and I’m still waiting for pigs (capitalist, male chauvinist or otherwise) to fly. My main issue with the current “regime” is with the news side of the operation and not the advertising people. Just the same, I wonder how this little shindig went over with those ink-stained “peons” in the News Room? Oh, well, as Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “Party on, dudes!”

  5. Hearne says:

    You are correct, the Sunday Star pays the freight…
    Not all of it but the lion’s share.

    I interviewed former Star publisher Art Brisbane three years ago and he envisioned a world where the Star basically lived off its Sunday circulation, a very dialed back weekday print circulation of maybe 20,000 to keep the name and visibility out there while continuing to expand its Internet content and revenues.

    That obviously hasn’t come to pass, but look at what’s happening to the print edition of the newspaper in New Orleans.

    Will print eventually go the way of vinyl records, CDs and DVDs? Probably. But there’s still a ton of Baby Boomers and 40-something Gen Xers out there and that’s where the ad revenue is far and away the strongest.

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