Are We Dead Yet?

Media Industry Hit by Rolling Layoffs

Meanwhile, media companies continue their slow process of dying from within, a/k/a belt-tightening. This can be more or less subtle. At Primedia, there is talk of selling off New York magazine, though execs deny it. New Yorker employees can no longer use a car service unless they pay first with their own credit cards, and their expense account lunches are now subject to infinite restrictions. Last week, two days after the Daily News began soliciting pro-Giuliani display ads from readers, the New York Post did the same. And here at the Voice, offices are now closed on weekends—a decision which management attributes to "security," but which most regard as a cynical money-saver.

Industry-wide, complaints have been muffled; everyone who's ever collected a salary knows the price of dissent. But last week, shortly after Time Inc. canned the remainder of its mail-room staff, 351 employees sent a petition to CEO Don Logan, demanding that he put a stop to the layoffs that have been roiling Time Inc. all year. It was the loudest anti-layoff protest since March, when Jay Harris, publisher of The San Jose Mercury News, resigned on the ground that oncoming layoffs would compromise his editorial product. The owners didn't blink, and 120 people lost their jobs two months later.

Welcome to the desert. Are we dead yet?

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