MediaFile

Layoffs hit The Washington Post after BusinessWeek, AP

Several media reporters wrote on Twitter on Thursday that this was one of the worst weeks in journalism, and it’s hard to argue with them. BusinessWeek is canning a third of its staff as Bloomberg gets ready to buy the magazine. The Associated Press is laying off 90 people as part of its effort to cut payroll costs by 10 percent this year.

And now The Washington Post is laying off staff, sources told me on Friday, and a spokeswoman confirmed.

The Post has cut an unknown number of washingtonpost.com workers, the website folks who until now have worked separately at the dot-com headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, across the river from the Post’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. One source told me up to 10 are going. That’s not as big a number as other places you’ve read about lately, but it’s still a painful cut. (Disclosure: I worked for The Washington Post Co. from 1998 to 2005)

Sources shared several names with me, but until those people confirm that they were laid off, I don’t want to publish them. What I can say is that there were several journalists and marketing people among the casualties. They are getting severance packages, but they are accompanied by non-disclosure agreements which prevent them from discussing their firings. Apparently, some of my sources said, they will be out of work by Dec. 31.

Why is this happening? Here’s what spokeswoman Kris Coratti said:

As part of the work we’re doing to turn around the business that supports our journalism, there were a small number of individual positions eliminated as a result of efficiencies we have found through our new structure and through new technology, and those have taken place in both print and online.

Big changes at The Washington Post

You could read the whole memo about changes at The Washington Post at Romenesko, or you could read the important parts more quickly here.

The bottom line, courtesy of the memo sent to employees on Thursday from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli and his top deputies, Liz Spayd and Raju Narisetti: Get stories out more quickly. Don’t worry about how you do it — on paper, a Blackberry or whatever. Just get it out there. And don’t slack on the writing and editing, please.

Excerpts from the memo:

Today, we are beginning a reorganization to create new reporting groups, streamline editing desks and anticipate the impending integration of our print and digital news operations. …  [W]e want to simplify the handling of words, pages, images and new media, building on the prescient move to “two-touch” editing under Len and Phil. Decisions about space and play must happen faster, both in print and online, and in a way that pulls together our now-separate newsrooms. A single editor ultimately ought to be able to oversee all versions of a story, whether it appears in print, online or on a BlackBerry or iPhone. Space in the newspaper and editing firepower in general should be allocated based on a day’s news priorities, not a predetermined formula.

washingtonpost.com gets ready to move

It looks like the wheels are in motion for the eventual transplant of washingtonpost.com’s employees from their enclave in Virginia to the mothership at 1150 15th St, NW, Washington, D.C. An alert tipster spotted this advertisement on Page D4 of the Monday edition of The Washington Post (that would be the Business section, soon to be eliminated):

1515 North Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA

84,000 square feet of sublease space available

Arlington VA @ Courthouse Metro

Top four floor of the building avail

12th floor: 21,177 SF

11th floor 21,177 SFf

10th floor: 6,900-to-21,324 SF

9th floor: 21,324 SF

Great views, furniture available, Cls to restaurants, hotels & shops, Fitness Center with locker room in the building, Computer room with raised floor, Parking.

Then there is contact information for two agents at Summit Commercial Real Estate

Newspapers hock their bargain basements

Good newspaper reporters have a knack for timing. They spot trends and tell readers about them before anyone else does. Their publishers have a knack for timing too — the bad kind.

With stock prices spiraling toward zero, debt looming and their future in doubt, newspapers are looking for ways to keep the money coming in. Some of those ways sound good, but only on paper. Here’s the latest example, as detailed in an Associated Press story:

With revenue plunging as readers and advertisers flee to the Web, many newspaper companies have turned to selling off their buildings to raise money or save on costs. But now that option may be drying up too, as frozen credit markets make commercial real estate deals scarce.