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Posts Tagged ‘The Tampa Tribune’

Cost Cutting Drives Newspaper Publisher Media General’s Profit

media general.jpgDespite heavy losses and layoffs over the past year, newspaper publishers are starting to show positive numbers as the fourth quarter earnings results trickle in.

Virginia-based Media General Inc. (MEG), publisher of The Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch posted a profit for the fourth quarter, reporting net income of $27.4 million for the last part of 2009.

Although revenues for the company were down, so were operating expenses — due in part to a reduction in force and other “aggressive” cost-cutting measures. Explained CEO Marshall N. Morton:

“We had nearly 900 fewer employees at the end of 2009 compared with 2008 year-end, and we implemented a five-day furlough program in the 2009 fourth quarter.”

Morton’s outlook for 2010 was actually pretty sunny, considering the grim fate of the media industry recently. Thanks to the publisher’s already reorganized “market-based structure” and lower cost base, Media General hopes to make gains throughout the year helped along by the recovering economy, revenues from the Winter Olympics, which are being broadcast on the NBC affiliate stations it owns, and political revenues.

Read more: Earnings press release

Previously: Possible Job Cuts Ahead As Media General Mulls Consolidation

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Update: Tampa Tribune Pays Up After YouTube Video Flap

Last week, when we posted a video made by freelance writer and FishbowlLA editor Tina Dupuy seeking payment for an opinion piece from The Tampa Tribune, our commenters were unsympathetic of her plight.

“If she made no mention of payment or terms if they ran it then she isn’t covering herself,” said one.

“Boo Hoo, now you know how newspapers and magazines feel,” said another

But every freelancer knows pain of fighting with a delinquent client over payment — whether its for payment of $50 or several hundred. The next time you’re faced with this dilemma, you’re wise to follow Dupuy’s lead and post a YouTube video. As the update above explains, three days after posting her video, Dupuy received an email from Tribune editor Jim Beamguard requesting her social security number so she can be paid.

And, when she tried to hit up the editor of the LA Daily News for some money she is owed, Dupuy learned that videos like hers also give some free (and much needed?) publicity to struggling papers. But hopefully papers won’t be holding on to payments in the hopes of getting some free publicity. That would be very bad news for freelancers.

Earlier: One Freelancer’s Quest For Payment