As some of you may have read in our sister paper, The Roanoke Times, our parent company, Lee Enterprises Inc., is instituting two weeks of required furloughs for all employees.
Restaurants, retail shops and entertainment venues aren’t the only industries suffering cutbacks as even industries deemed essential such as journalism are feeling cutbacks. With businesses suffering, their advertising budgets suffer, therefore, cutting off the revenue source for newspapers.
Newspaper organizations across the country have taken similar steps of furloughing workers, laying off employees or cutting back on print publications. Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper operator based on circulation, is furloughing employees at more than 100 newspapers across the country, including USA Today.
Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises told employees Tuesday morning that the steps were necessary because of a slump in advertising revenue that has hit print media especially hard from the coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, even our best efforts cannot overshadow the fact that our advertising revenue has been dramatically impacted now and for the near future,” Kevin Mowbray, president and CEO of Lee Enterprises, wrote to employees.
“To ensure our own sustainability, it’s important that we manage the economic impact to our company. The sacrifices we make now will minimize the long-term damage the pandemic could have on our business,” Mowbray said. “We do not take these actions lightly and fully understand the sacrifices being made. Our goal is to ensure we weather the difficult days ahead and emerge stronger together with opportunities to grow our business when the pandemic passes.”
Employees will be required to take either a pay reduction or furlough time off that is the equivalent of two weeks of salary. Company executives will be taking a 20% reduction in pay.
Lee Enterprises is the parent company of The Franklin News-Post, along with 77 daily newspapers. The next logical question is “Will staff at the News-Post be affected?” The answer is yes. Full time FNP staff members will be taking 80 hours off, unpaid, between now and the end of June.
So here’s what this means for our readers: nothing. The Franklin News-Post will continue to publish on Wednesdays and Fridays, just like usual. Our commitment to bringing you the local news remains steadfast. More than ever we understand the necessity of keeping the public informed of what is going on in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. As with all other news, we strive to tell you how this global pandemic affects you, right here at home, in Franklin County.
Our staff will rotate with our partners at Laker Media to make sure Franklin County news is covered, and that our printed products, as well as our website, are kept up to date. Our hope is that this furlough is seamless to our readers.
For our advertisers, we are still here to meet your needs. Our account executives will continue to serve you and will appoint a contact person in their absence in an effort to make things as cohesive as possible.