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Layoffs

Instead of Doling Out Pink Slips, Some Japanese Companies Put Employees in ‘Banishment Rooms’

We shouldn’t live in a bubble so what you’re about to read will bring a new perspective to a basic conference room. While some Japanese companies are reluctant to show employees the door, they embrace banishment rooms.

Looking to pink slip an employee? Fughettaboutit! As per the Asahi Shimbun, companies are transferring surplus employees and giving them mundane tasks to accomplish. The goal is for employees to reach a point of despair and simply quit on their own.

And we’re not talking about boutique companies. As mentioned in the piece, two subsidiaries of Panasonic Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Sony Corp., an NEC Corp. subsidiary and Seiko Instruments, Inc. have all employed banishment rooms. Read more

Laid Off ‘Sun-Times’ Photographer Documents New Life With iPhone

By now you’ve probably heard the unfortunate news that the entire photography staff was laid off by the Chicago Sun-Times last week. Well, one of the photojournalists has decided to share his life through his iPhone, as mentioned on JimRomenesko.

Rob Hart writes in his Tumblr account, “Rob Hart was replaced with a reporter with an iPhone, so he is documenting his new life with an iPhone, but with the eye of a photojournalist trained in storytelling.”

The freelance photojournalist and adjunct faculty member of photojournalism at the Medill School of Journalism posted his first photo of a zig zag carpet design. The caption read: “Zero hour. Carpet on the 14th floor of the Holiday Inn where 28 Sun-Times photographers lost their jobs.”

Throughout the past several days, in true storytelling form, he was able to witness his daughter taking some of her first steps, return to class at Medill, and reminisce good times at the Billy Goat Tavern during “hour 1″ of this new chapter.

‘Chicago Sun-Times’ Lays Off Entire Photography Staff

It’s a sad day for photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times and journalism in general as a sign of the times.

As per The Huffington Post, sources told Chicago Tribune media reporter Robert Channick about 20 full-time staffers received their pink slips. He tweeted, “Chicago Sun-Times lays off its full photography staff; plans to use freelancers going forward.”

The actual number of employees impacted could be closer to 30, as per Crain’s Chicago Business. The Sun-Times includes publications such as The Chicago Reader.

As for the reason? An increased demand for video and “other multimedia.” Jim Romenesko posted a statement on his site which was issued by the newspaper:

“The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements. The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.”

Apparently the 10th largest circulating newspaper in the country plans to rely on freelancers and reporters using their smart phones.

As pointed out by Forbes, the Sun-Times won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. The story entailed a package about the continuous level of violence.  John J. Kim, staff photographer, was among the winners.

The Scoop on the General Release & Agreement

In case you haven’t heard of the General Release and Agreement, we’re here to give you some insight.

Here’s the deal: Let’s say you get laid off and an employer gives you documentation for your signature in exchange for severance. Essentially, the document indicates you’ll waive your rights to sue the company and that you won’t say anything negative about it. Read more

Layoffs Announced at ‘San Jose Mercury News’

Sorry to end the week with grim news but we heard production workers at the San Jose Mercury News are going to lose their San Jose-based jobs starting on Monday.

According to The Business Journal, layoff letters were issued to 118 employees. As for the good news? An undetermined number of those employees will be offered jobs at other locations affiliated with the paper.

The employees impacted by the reduction in force (a.k.a. “RIF”) include press operators and production staffers. It sounds like timing is everything. After all, the layoffs are occurring merely two weeks after the newspaper announced its intentions to market its 30-acres.

Publisher Mac Tully explained, “This plant sits on very valuable real estate that we want to realize the value of.”

Disney Studio Announces Lay Offs

Walt Disney Studios laid off 150 workers yesterday; a few senior executives received some of the pink slips.

Apparently the cuts didn’t impact eliminating entire departments. In addition, the lay offs won’t have implications of restructuring the studio.

As per Variety, employees working in home entertainment, production, distribution and marketing, and Disney’s theater and music business in New York City were hit the hardest.

Disney employees approximately 166,000 employees across the globe. The reduction in force represents less than five percent of the studio’s workforce across Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Theatrical Productions and music divisions.

‘Boston Phoenix’ Announces Closure; 50 Staffers Will Lose Their Jobs

The Boston Phoenix announces it’s folding and this means 50 people will be out of their jobs.

Apparently it cost more than $1 million each year to keep the publication in business. The alt-weekly was founded in 1966 and is closing immediately. As in now.

Publisher Stephen Minich released a memo that was posted on JimRomenesko. Here’s an excerpt:

“I can state with certainty that this is the single most difficult communication I’ve ever had to deliver and there’s no other way to state it than straightforwardly –

As of now the Boston Phoenix has ceased publishing and wfnx.com will not continue as it is….

I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me, and I know, for you as well, so I won’t try….

And obviously as well, my sincere gratitude to our millions of readers and tens of thousands of advertisers without whom none of what we did accomplish could have been possible or meaningful.

So, that’s it. We have had an extraordinary run.”

‘Star-Ledger’ Announces Newsroom Layoffs

According to The Star-Ledger, almost 10 percent of its newsroom will get the pink slip in the first layoff in its history.

Here’s the breakdown: 18 part-time and full-time staffers will be laid off today. This is in addition to 16 other employees in other areas of the company for a total of 19 full-timers and 15 part-timers. Read more

Worst Countries For Employees to be Laid Off: The U.S. & Switzerland

Ever wonder where the worst place is to be let go from your job? Wonder no more. The U.S. took the top spot and Switzerland followed in second place.

According to eFinancialCareers, our country and Switzerland favor the employer and make it simple for them to trim headcount. Here’s why: Every state in our country aside from Montana has “at will” employment.

Essentially employers can lay off its people for any time and for any reason. Sure, it is not supposed to be discriminatory but at will also means they’re not legally required to dole out money. Read more

Martha Stewart Omnimedia Announces Layoffs

Unfortunately, on the heels of the monthly jobs report there will be more job seekers pounding the pavement and they include employees of Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

Late yesterday The New York Times announced the company is going to layoff about 70 employees and will cut back two of its four publications. This equates to almost 12 percent of the total number of its employees.

For instance, Everyday Food will scale back its magazine and publish five issues each year instead of 10. Plus, it won’t be sold as a publication by itself and instead, subscribers to Martha Stewart Living will receive it as a supplement.

In addition, Whole Living Magazine, is looking for a buyer. According to the newspaper, execs are in talks to sell the publication, they already plan to stop printing it by the end of this calendar year if it hasn’t been sold.

As a result of the cutbacks, Martha Stewart’s business will now rely on its two flagship publications, Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings.

Technically, when looking at the company’s history the lay offs and reductions in publishing shouldn’t be a total shock. Income has steadily decreased across its publishing, merchandising and broadcasting arms.

Plus, the company slashed $12.5 million in broadcasting costs when it cut daily programming with the Hallmark Channel. The Martha Stewart Show ended its live audience on that channel and soon announced a new weekly show, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, was going to air on public television.

Sadly though we’ve had to report more than enough layoffs recently; hopefully next week and in the weeks to close out the year there will be an uptick in media companies expanding in the digital and broadcasting space.

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