The combined NWA newspapers | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 4, 2009

The combined NWA newspapers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 8:22 AM

Coverage of the end of the Northwest Arkansas newspaper war in the affected newspapers didn't advance the story much beyond stories linked here yesterday.

Among the questions virtuallly unmentioned and not yet answered: The future of the affected weekly newspapers free and paid; of redundant printing plants; redundant ad and circulation employees; redundant editorial and technical employees; related, but independent operations elsewhere (such as the significant Stephens Media bureau in Little Rock that provided beefed up state coverage to enhance the Springdale newspaper in the now-ending war); what local competitors might think about the new might of a single owner of virtually all weekly and daily newspaper publication in Washington and Benton Counties.

On the jump, some comments from employees (none was quoted in coverage I saw) Their liveliehoods merely hang in the balance. But, hey. How important is that against concern that Warren Stephens and Walter Hussman have been losing a little money?

UPDATE: KUAR reporter Kelly MacNeil quoted on Twitter by AP reporter Jon Gambrell as saying Publisher Hussman says only the D-G, not Stephens, will cover the Razorbacks Yow. Feel redundant, anyone? Here's her audio of Hussman interview.

NOTES FROM ALL OVER: City Wire reports that Hussman controls majority of seats on board that will oversee new newspaper combine.  Lance Turner rounds up stuff from all over the place.

Comments from employees (all speculative, to be sure, but a flavor of what they're feeling):

Right now Morning News publisher Tom Stallbaumer is the only employee of the new company. EVERYONE else will have to apply for jobs at the new company. Anyone crazy enough to stay will have to be hired by the new company. Everyone. I've talked to two ADG folks and they had no idea.

In our meetings, TMN people made the usual grand gestures of "You're all the best/That's why you work here/That's why you'll have jobs and the others won't." But I don't believe a word of it. Anyone crazy enough to stay will also start at zero in terms of time with the company and seniority. A page designer now may be a reporter later. It'll pretty much be a mad grab for jobs and nobody knows who will do the interviewing or making hiring decisions. But everyone will have to apply for jobs at the new company.

All of this will shake out by the end of the year and maybe as early as mid-November.

And then this:

MNewsers told they will have to reinterview for their jobs. Also apparently told that the NWA times people will too, although none of them know that.

And this:

In shock. I would have never thought this would happen. I am so lost.  ...  Part of me wants to take the severance and run, you know?  ...  I have no idea what to do.



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