Madison and Milwaukee newspapers dim
Will they go dark?
Blaska is an old ink-stained wretch who believes, against some evidence, that a multitude of voices sustains our democracy and the economic ascendance of a free-market system. But this novel coronavirus may be accelerating the demise of our news-gathering organizations.
Big layoffs, furloughs, and wage reductions at Wisconsin’s two largest news outlets. How many more will follow? Including radio and television?
In Madison WI
Lee Enterprises owns the WI State Journal. Owner Lee Enterprises CEO Kevin Mowbray said this morning 03-31-2020:
Unfortunately, even our best efforts cannot overshadow the fact that our advertising revenue has been dramatically impacted now and for the near future. To ensure our own sustainability, it’s important that we manage the economic impact to our company. The sacrifices we make now will minimize the long-term damage the pandemic could have on our business
Consequently,we are implementing a combination of pay reductions and furloughs. In the third quarter, the executive team will be taking a 20% reduction in pay on top of a pay reduction implemented in Q1. All other employees will be subject to either a pay reduction or furlough equivalent to two weeks of salary also in the third quarter.
This comes on top of Madison’s Isthmus newspaper ceasing weekly publication.
Gannett will furlough hundreds of newspaper employees across the nation including, according to Dan Bice, “every Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter whose work you read regularly, including all members of the political team — Bill Glauber, Molly Beck, Patrick Marley, Mary Spicuzza, Craig Gilbert, and me.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: We got two elections coming up? What gives?