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Glenn Halbrooks

More Media Layoffs Show the Industry Is Still in Transition

By August 1, 2012

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Two large media companies have announced new rounds of layoffs. The job cuts show how media executives are having to shift resources and people to meet the fickle demands of their audience.

A photo of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch may be an innovator, but his digital newspaper The Daily has been hit with layoffs.
Photo © Getty Images
First, Rupert Murdoch and his mammoth News Corp. empire are slashing the staff by about one-third at The Daily, his digital newspaper that was launched last year with great fanfare.

The Daily was supposed to be a marriage between the look and features of a traditional newspaper, coupled with the instant access of digital media. The innovation is one reason Murdoch is one of the 10 media people to watch in 2012. Despite the $40 yearly subscription price to generate revenue beyond typical online advertising, 50 people are losing their jobs.

Elsewhere, Media General is cutting staff by a third at its corporate headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. This represents about 75 people who have to pack up and move on.

Media General is a well-known owner of traditional newspapers, TV stations and other media properties. It is trying to reinvent itself as a leaner company, after selling 63 newspapers earlier this year to billionaire investor Warren Buffett for $142 million.

Media General is now mostly a TV company, with 18 stations and about 140 workers remaining at its headquarters. Compared to some rivals which own dozens of stations, Media General is now a much smaller media player after shedding all of its newspapers except the Tampa Tribune.

For people working in media, these layoffs mean 125 more people are suddenly in the job market, competing for the same openings. Media company executives responsible for the job cuts will have to improve their bottom lines with fewer people to do the work.

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