June 20th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Media

The Oregonian is Reducing Home Delivery Days, Laying Off Staff

Will move from Broadway offices, offer web edition called "MyDigitalO"

news1_oregonian_3840THE PRINTING ON THE WALL: A worker loads papers at The Oregonian’s press plant at 1621 SW Taylor St. The newspaper’s parent, Advance Publications Inc., says it’s considering new strategies for its papers, including dropping days from their publishing schedules. Advance has already announced a three-day-a-week schedule at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. - IMAGE: Jarod Opperman
The Oregonian confirmed this morning that the paper will reduce print delivery to three four days a week.

Publisher N. Christian Anderson III informed staff just before 10 am that the paper will continue to publish seven days a week, but will only deliver to subscribers on a limited number of days.

Clarification at 9:15 pm:

The Oregonian's initial report Thursday morning said, "Home delivery will be Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and include the Saturday edition as a bonus," and explained “Those home delivery subscribers that choose the three-day subscription option will also have access to a digital edition seven days a week.”

That seemed to indicate the paper would only be delivered on three days.

But in a later email exchange with WW, Anderson said the paper will be delivered four days, not three. 

"Individual editions will be delivered to subscribers on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday," he wrote in an email.

Original post: On Thursday morning, Anderson also announced that newsroom layoffs would begin immediately. 

Anderson told staff that the company will inform them by Friday morning whether they are being laid off. 

"The newsroom was just told there will be 'significant layoffs,' w/some new hiring for digital," reporter Anna Griffin wrote on Twitter at 10:51 am. "Somebody open the bar tab."

Staffers were told they could be offered severance or take new jobs at a recently formed company Oregonian Media Group.

Anderson also told the staffers the paper will move out of its iconic downtown building on Southwest Broadway to new offices.

Subscribers to the newspaper's four home-delivered print editions will also receive a web-based edition of the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday papers—it's called "MyDigitalO."

The delivery reduction will begin Oct. 1.

Peter Bhatia, the editor of the paper, is the only newsroom member whose fate was immediately clear this morning: He is moving to a new company, Oregonian Media Group, as "vice president of content."

According to sources, Bhatia held a meeting with editors and reporters immediately after Anderson's announcement, telling staff that editors will now be known as "managing producers," and all employees moving to the new company will be required to take a fresh drug test.

General assignment reporter Kimberly A.C. Wilson tweeted that Bhatia warned staffers that if they are considering a severance offer, "don't assume it will save somebody else's job."

The announcement, also made in a press release, was formal confirmation that the paper's New Jersey-based owner, Advance Publications Inc., is culling staffs and shifting The Oregonian to the web, as it has at its other papers across the country.

WW broke news June 14 that The Oregonian Publishing Co. filed an application in May with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of a new brand name: Oregonian Media Group. This morning, Anderson confirmed in a press release that the state's major daily newspaper has started a second company, Advance Central Services of Oregon.

Advance Central Services is the business unit that has overseen the move away from print days in New Orleans and Syracuse, as well as its holdings in Alabama, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Anderson's announcement this morning explicitly confirmed long-rumored impending layoffs—and says Oregonian employees are being told today what jobs they're being offered in the new companies.

"While we believe these changes will create growth opportunities for our employees, the reality is that some employees will lose their jobs," Anderson wrote. "Many of our employees will be offered positions with the Oregonian Media Group and many others will be asked to be part of the Advance Central Services Oregon team."

WW reported last August that Advance intends to move The Oregonian in the same direction as its other holdings—less reliance on its print newspaper, and more on its website.

 
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