To the staff:
By now you know that Monday has been a difficult day for The Commercial Appeal newsroom.
The economic realities of the newspaper business here in Memphis led to a decision that editorial costs at The Commercial Appeal had to be reduced this year. As a result, eight newsroom positions, including four senior manager positions, have been eliminated from our staffing chart - effective Oct 1.
With the elimination of these positions we have lost good people. Good journalists. There is no joy in seeing these jobs go away. All of us should take a moment to honor the valuable contributions made by those whose have left the staff and whose jobs have been eliminated.
But please understand the straightforward, honest reason for this staff reduction.
In 2012, the newspaper industry has been falling far short of revenue expectations. We are trying hard to stem the decline in revenues here in Memphis and have many promising revenue initiatives in the works for 2013, but we simply came to a point in 2012 where we had to lower our newsroom expenses to get our costs in line with the revenues coming in.
It’s a tough day.
But we don’t have time to fret or lose our focus.
On the horizon are some very important, exciting, and challenging initiatives in Memphis that will, to a significant degree, determine the success of our operations for the future. All of us now need to bring a laser-focus to these projects. They include:
· an ambitious zoning effort in key areas of our circulation area designed to dramatically improve local advertising revenues;
· ramping up of our four-platform editing and storytelling efforts for print, Web, smartphone and tablets to support a paid digital strategy;
· leading the Scripps effort to keep our design fresh even as we streamline the workflow and page production for all Scripps properties;
· an ambitious beat reporting profile that maintains our leadership as the prime source of local news in Memphis;
· continued commitment to enterprise and investigative work;
Let’s work together to help The Commercial Appeal keep moving ahead as a vital, relevant news organization in Greater Memphis.
Chris Peck – Editor