A scant two weeks before Christmas and the Grim Reapers at 18th and Grand are up to their old tricks. As in laying off staff right before America’s Holiday.
“MEMO TO: Co-workers,” the internal notice begins.
“FROM: Mi-Ai Parrish.
“RE: Reduction in force
“As we continue to be challenged by uncertain economic news, I have decided to restructure and realign some pieces of the business, eliminating several positions, as well as some open positions.
“The employees affected by the reductions have been notified.”
The name that jumps out in the early returns is Star librarian Eric Winkler.
I can tell you from my own experience that Winkler is one of the most popular, helpful staffers at 18th and Grand. Just like newsroom IT Chase Clements was when he took a bullet in the newspaper’s September bloodletting.
Clements however must have kickass juju because three weeks later the Star‘s parent company McClatchy snapped him up, reportedly with a tidy raise.
Would that Winkler will be so lucky – he certainly deserves it.
“He’s very good at helping people find things,” says one Star newsie. “He will find anything for anybody. I mean, he really should have gotten an award for what he did.
“Plus he’s married and has two young boys, like in the first or second grade. I’m not sure that his youngest may still be in kindergarten.”
Winkler was also a frequent contributor to the Northland Neighborhood News section.
As for the the ultra low morale that continues to pervade the newsroom, think of it as business as usual, the publisher says.
“Job eliminations are a tough reality, and they are a difficult step,” Parrish’s memo concludes. “As we continue to restructure and strategically reinvent our operation for our future, your efforts are vital. Please ask me or any member of the senior team if you have questions.”
Put another way…
“I mean, what’s a December without layoffs,” quips one Star staffer.