Today's Top Stories

Newsrooms to suffer layoffs as papers consolidate

A corporate rebranding driven by need to cut payroll

Today we learned together that our newsrooms will again lose some great journalists. We do not yet know who, but we know it’s scary for everyone. Details remain scarce about the company’s plans. We are told that the laid-off workers will either receive a two-week notice, or their final check, including two weeks pay on top of severance, on Oct. 28. The company does not intend to make buyout offers.

News Corp. Downgraded on Threat From 'Powerful Enemies'

Rupert Murdoch, you’re not paranoid — they really are out to get you. Analysts from Needham & Co. have downgraded their recommendation for News Corp. from a buy to a hold on the grounds that “powerful enemies” of Murdoch are intent on using the phone-hacking scandal to bring him low. No word on who those “powerful enemies” might be. The New York Times? MSNBC? Barack Obama?

Journalists freed from Rixos hotel after being held by Gaddafi gunmen

A group of journalists and other people trapped inside Tripoli's five-star Rixos hotel were released unharmed shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Conditions had deteriorated sharply at the hotel, where more than 30 foreign journalists were trapped by armed guards loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. The journalists included staff from the BBC, Sky, CNN, Reuters and other networks. Other captives reportedly included a former US congressman and a member of the Indian parliament.

Big Organizing Challenge Remains After Temporary Truce at Verizon

The 45,000 union members returning to work at Verizon on Tuesday, after a two-week strike, would do well to remember Marc Reed's words when picket lines were taken down Saturday. Said Reed: “We remain committed to our objectives.” Reed is a major architect of Verizon’s long-term de-unionization strategy that has already achieved the “objective” of cutting union density in half -- to only 30% within the company.

Taxing the rich fairly can be done — and would raise revenue

It has been a little over a week since billionaire Warren Buffett called for higher taxes on the richest Americans, and now comes the reaction. Harvey Golub, a former chairman and chief executive of American Express, writes in the Wall Street Journal that he “resents” Mr. Buffett’s suggestion. I already pay plenty of taxes, Mr. Golub asserts, adding: “Before you ‘ask’ for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely.”

Digital Ad Growth Has Resumed And Paid Content Has Helped, WPP Says

WPP, the world’s largest ad agency, says income from direct and digital advertising hit $2.1 billion (28.1 percent of its total), behind its target of 35-40% in three to four years. “Newspapers and magazines, in particular, remain challenged, although the apparent success of charging for content, that consumers value, has helped somewhat,” the group says.

Measuring executive pay — and responsibility

When Nintendo slashed the price of its 6-month-old 3-D game device by nearly a third a few weeks ago, company President Satoru Iwata voluntarily took a 50% pay cut. That was in stark contrast to the position taken by Rupert Murdoch who, when asked whether he should accept responsibility for the legal and public relations disaster facing his company by resigning, replied: "Nope. People I trusted have let me down. It's for them to pay."

In New York, scourge of outsourcing continues

The New York Guild was informed by New York Times management on Friday afternoon that the company will eliminate all 11 positions in the Customer Order Fulfillment Department through subcontracting. The Times said the work would be taken over by the Shared Services Center in Virginia, with the job losses to begin on Jan. 1, 2012. Five managers in the department also will be affected.

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