Yesterday the bell tolled for the Chicago Tribune (Who knows who the Zell tolls for? He tolls for thee?). Today's surprising news is that the NPR news is also mourning.
Ironically, On today's Diane Rehm Show today, the where topic was The Newspaper Industry and The Future of Journalism, Clevelander Lauren Rich Fine offered NPR as a successful model business model for news. NPR, it was said, has been increasing its world coverage and its staff of foreign correspondents. (Listen to the podcast on RealAudio or Windows Media)
So it comes as a surprise to hear from @themediaisdying that there were "65 lay offs @ NPR by EOD - no digi media cuts - 34 gne in news inc Linda Wertheimer/Noah Adams/Howard Berkes out."
The tweets and retweets about the NPR layoffs are coming fast and furious...
FishbowlDC has the memo from Interim President and CEO Dennis Haarsager, in which he writes:
The manageable $2 million budget deficit we projected in July for Fiscal Year 2009 has now risen to a projected $23 million deficit.
[W]e are announcing the cancellation of News & Notes and Day to Day, and significant budget reductions across the organization. These cuts include the elimination of 64 filled and 21 unfilled positions, many of which are associated with the two cancelled programs. Positions have also been eliminated across NPR, including reporting, editorial, and production staffs; station services; digital media; research; communications; and administrative support. Overall, this is a 7% reduction in NPR's current workforce.
Update from FishbowlDC @3:24 p.m.: "NPR sources told us that Linda Wertheimer and Noah Adams were among the casualties in today's staff slashing, but the news organization has assured staffers that the two will remain."
Part of the problem, according to coverage of the layoffs from NPR, is that "Interest payments from an endowment created from the bequest of the late Joan B. Kroc, which have typically paid out about $10 million a year to NPR, were wiped out by the sharp downturn in the financial markets."
Washington Post's coverage: Hit by Recession, NPR to Lay Off Seven Percent of Staff
NPR's coverage: NPR announces cuts to staff, programs
NPR's press release