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Archives: October 2009

AP Sick Leave Changes

A new policy on sick leave has taken affect for Associated Press employees, bumping up the leave for new employees but reducing the amount available to long-term workers, according to the November issue of WiReport.

AP staffers used to get two weeks of sick leave during the first two years of service; that number is being upped to 12 days per year.

Short-term disability benefits are being reduced, though: Under the old policy, an employee would receive a week of full pay plus one week of half pay for each year of service, so an employee with 35 years of service could be sick for 35 weeks before seeing his/her pay reduced, then be out another 35 weeks and still pull at least part of a paycheck.

The new policy removes the half pay weeks and caps the full weeks at 25 for employees with less than 20 years of service as of Dec. 1, 2008; employees with more than 20 years of service by that date see no cap.

Just another cost-cutting move; however, the Guild’s bargaining chair last year, Martha Waggoner, said that “a review of other sick leave plans among members of The Newspaper Guild showed the new plan at the AP…was as good or better than others in TNG.” But it’s never easy to see benefits taken away.

Jobs Of The Day: Work At Lonely Planet, Murphy O’Brien, More

Lonely Planet‘s vision is to develop television programming that entertains, educates and inspires people to travel. The core strategy is to place Lonely Planet programming on mainstream channels in key target markets, with the opportunity to create a global format and a franchise that can extend into all relevant media channels. The Head of Television is responsible for delivering Lonely Planet’s television strategy, including building Lonely Planet’s presence on television in all regions around the globe, maximizing commissions, and accelerating the development of short form digital video content to feed lp.com, mobile and partner distribution.”

“Successful B2B publication has internship position available for an ambitious college grad with extensive social networking and internet skills to assist senior sales team members increase sales revenue and volume.”

Code And Theory is “hiring at all levels from Junior Interactive Designer to Interactive Art Director.”

JCPR Inc. is a full-service, boutique public relations and marketing communications agency that specializes in creating distinctively tailored strategies and programs for a diverse range of financial services clients.

“We are currently seeking to fill an Account Executive position with a highly motivated, talented, results-oriented and Type A team player who can hit the ground running and integrate seamlessly with our team.”

“Located in Santa Monica, Murphy O’Brien is a creative public relations agency celebrating 20 years of success. Murphy O’Brien is one of the leading luxury/lifestyle PR agencies in the country. We specialize in three collections: travel, real estate and lifestyle. Some of our current clients include See’s Candies; Morton’s, The Steakhouse; Marie Callender’s; The Peninsula Hotels; Pebble Beach Resorts; Hualalai Resort and Timbers Resorts. We are currently seeking a highly effective, seasoned Senior Account Executive.”

“As a result of continued growth and expansion, we are currently seeking a Regional Sales Director – a highly personable, intelligent individual who will sell TIG Global‘s services to hotels, brands, management companies and ownership groups.”

Argus Media, a leading provider of news and information for world energy markets, is looking for an ambitious energy and regulatory policy reporter for its Washington, DC newsroom.”

“The Ravalli Republic, a five-day newspaper in Hamilton, Mt., has an opening for a government reporter. Prior newspaper experience is desired. Photography and design skills are a plus.”

Antelope Valley Press, a national award-winning suburban daily, the only family-owned newspaper in fast-growing area of Southern California, seeks versatile photo journalist who can shoot news, sports, and generate creative photo options for marketing and niche publications.”

“The Garden City Telegram is seeking someone with a sharp editing eye, flair for design and an eagerness to embrace multimedia to fill a copy editor/page designer position in our newsroom.”

Only Area To See Employment Increase In September Was Hit By A Hurricane Last Year

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The recession in a nutshell: 371 of 372 metropolitan areas in the country recorded higher unemployment rates in September 2009 than September 2008. The only area to register a decrease in unemployment was Houma, La., and surrounding areas, and that, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, is only because Houma was hit by Hurricane Gustav last year so of course the statistics are all fubared.

Of all places in the country with populations of 1 million or more, the highest unemployment rate is in Detroit at 17.3 percent, followed by Riverside, Calif., at 14.2 percent, and Las Vegas at 13.9 percent.

Oklahoma City, Okla., is the metropolitan area with the country’s lowest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, followed by Washington/Arlington/Alexandria at 6.2 percent and the Virginia Beach area at 6.7 percent.

Taking The Twempature: Social Edition

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(c) wordle.net

This week it seems you all are talking social: the words “LinkedIn” and “Facebook” are clearly visible as well as “social,” “conference,” “search,” and “myspace.”

The Best Way To Hire

A study in the Psychological Bulletin conducted a decade ago but recently brought to light shows that the methods companies use to determine whether a potential employee is a good fit…may not be the best methods.

To wit:

Out of 19 methods for essentially predicting how well an employee will be able to do his/her job, like interviews, data points on a resume like years of experience or years of education, which topped the list? None of these.

The top predictor of success in a new hire is a work sample test—one that specifically tests an on-the-job skill.

“Structured” interviews came in third, though an unstructured interview (“Tell me about yourself…”) came in ninth.

A job knowledge test (a written theoretical test rather than a hands-on test like the work sample) was the fifth most effective method, and a job tryout was seventh, both more effective than unstructured interviews.

Years of experience and years of education came in 14th and 16th, respectively; age came in last.

A couple of questions.

One: would it be a good thing if more companies adopted this approach? We see both sides. It would be great to see hiring companies paying less attention to the resume, since that attention is often paid arbitrarily, but making prospective applicants take tests is time-consuming for both hirer and hiree.

Two: Are there more factors at play here than the applicant’s simple ability to do the job? Cultural fit is important, and you won’t get that from a test, just an interview. Personality is important, as new hires who can’t stand their managers are not likely to get far. Is that why companies have shied away from more skills-based methods of evaluation?

(h/t The Staffing Advisor)

Politico Will Launch Local D.C. Web Site; Former Post.com Editor To Lead

Politico owner Robert Allbritton will be launching a local website focused on D.C. news, The New Republic reports. At the helm: Jim Brady, former editor of Washingtonpost.com.

It’s “his most direct challenge to The Washington Post since launching Politico,” TNR says.

Politico, of course, was founded by two Post veterans, John Harris and Jim VandeHei, and recently, former Post editor Bill Hamilton joined Politico. Long-time intern Kendra Marr jumped to Politico earlier this year. And so on and so on.

New Hires | WSJ Launches College Edition | More Links For 10-27-09

Cuts Coming At Time Inc.

Time Inc. is expected to make cuts to its staff next week, WWD reports.

Some have speculated that the publisher of Time, People, and 20 other magazines and more than 25 Web sites will be cutting as many as it did this time last year—almost six hundred—butWWD reports that sources both inside and outside the company say that number is too high.

The company employs about 10,700 worldwide.

For Media Buyers And Planners, Recession’s End Is Farther Away

Fifty five percent of media buyers polled by Media Life believe the recession won’t end until the second half of 2010, a 29 percent increase since June 2009 when Media Life conducted its last poll.

Only 7 percent believe the recovery will begin in the first half of 2010, and 22 percent think we’ll have to wait til 2011 to see progress.

Salaries are still frozen for most buyers (69 percent in June, 67 now) and no large cuts seem to have come from the employees polled. In June, 44 percent said that their agencies had seen “major” cuts; that number rose to 48 in this poll.

Those polled still believe business at their agencies is flat (43 percent in June, 46 percent now)

(Disclaimer: Scientific? Hardly. This was a self-selecting poll and the sample size wasn’t given.)

Related: Media Buyers: ‘No Real Sense’ More Layoffs Coming
Media Planners Don’t See Things Brightening

New York City’s Job Losses Not As Bad As Expected

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told an audience at a breakfast forum last week that the city had lost 116,000 jobs since the financial crisis struck a year ago. But losses were expected to be closer to 190,000 to 220,000.

The unemployment rate in New York City is 10.2 percent, higher than the national average.

More: New York City Employment Estimates Improve

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