City Desk

City Paper, Sister Papers Cut Pay, Staffing

Washington City Paper

Washington City Paper publisher Amy Austin announced today changes to staff operations at Creative Loafing, the company that owns the Chicago Reader, City Paper, and Creative Loafing Atlanta.

All employees at Creative Loafing's three publications, including City Paper, will receive 5 percent pay cuts. Austin said the reductions will "stabilize" the company.

Additionally, some employees' hours have been cut to part time. There are no further staff reductions at City Paper planned. The other two papers had more extensive cuts to staff, Austin said.

Earlier this week, we noted that City Paper's sister paper the Reader is for sale by Atalaya Capital Management, the New York-based hedge fund that owns Creative Loafing. The news should have come as no surprise: Upon bringing the papers out of bankruptcy in 2009, the fund made clear that it was not in the business of running media organizations over the long term.

A memo to all Creative Loafing employees issued this afternoon by executives Alison Draper and Tammy Bailey further addressed the possible sale, making clear that the fund was looking to find "potential suitors" for all of its properties. "We believe this provides an opportunity for our properties to align with a new owner who understands the legacy of our brands, respects the impact they have in our cities, and has the infrastructure and vision to help bolster our unique local reach in the rapidly evolving digital media environment," the memo said.

Full memo after the jump.

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES

FM: ALISON DRAPER & TAMMY BAILEY

Today’s news of company-wide wage reductions, job restructuring and job eliminations, combined with Monday’s report of increased activity from potential buyers of the Chicago Reader, makes for a difficult week for our organization. The expressions of serious interest from potential suitors bring to light the tremendous opportunities on the horizon.

We must do what so many news media organizations around the country have done: realign our organizations and ourselves to face the new and rapidly changing media landscape.

The job eliminations and wage reductions are a necessary action to put each of our properties on solid financial footing, allowing us to protect our organization against uncertainty—and therefore continue the important work we do.

Our papers and websites are of great value and importance to our cities. It is important that we continue providing the same high quality publications and services to our readers and advertisers, and having the proper operating and expense plan is imperative. Regardless of who the shareholders are, we need to be nimble and concentrate on sustainable growth initiatives.

As you all know, as covered in the Chicago press, the properties have had an increased number of inquiries from potential suitors. Our owners have expressed interest in exploring those opportunities. We believe this provides an opportunity for our properties to align with a new owner who understands the legacy of our brands, respects the impact they have in our cities, and has the infrastructure and vision to help bolster our unique local reach in the rapidly evolving digital media environment. We have been working very closely with Atalaya and Bulkley to ensure this is possible.

As we undertake this process, we all must stay focused on continuing to execute our strategies for increasing audience and revenues. We know this is not easy for any of us, however we are more committed than ever to produce great content for our beloved cities. Your hard work and dedication as we strive to achieve the best outcome for Washington City Paper, Creative Loafing Atlanta and the Chicago Reader are integral not just to our near-term goals, but to the kind of future we want for these iconic publications and for ourselves.

Alison & Tammy

 

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