Slow month? Axe the interns

Dateline: Tue 19 Jun 2007

The Maynard Institute of Journal-isms reports that a Gannett newspaper in Montgomery, Ala., abruptly let go three summer interns for -- what else? -- financial reasons. Talk about a kick in the head for the kids.

According to the web site, the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper "was forced to make quick and drastic budget cuts last week...leaving three interns suddenly without summer jobs. Similar cuts could be coming at other Gannett properties."

No kidding. The story quotes AP, which Monday reported that revenue for Gannett overall was down 6 percent for May, the result of weak classified ad spending and broadcasting declines.

Editor Wanda Lloyd, says Journal-isms, "didn't want to disappoint" the new summer hires, but she got her marching orders from her publisher. It was either a case of letting a full-time staff person go, or axing the interns.

There is a shred of good news, with an Indiana angle -- "The displaced interns were instantly picked up by Schurz Communications,a South Bend, Ind., media company that owns 15 dailies and five weeklies. Charles V. Pittman, the company's senior vice president-newspapers, had just addressed the interns Friday at the Freedom Forum's Diversity Institute in Nashville, and said he could not let 'these young people have their internship pulled out from under them.'

So, "The three students will be going to the Herald Times in Bloomington, Ind. Schurz is taking a total of 13 interns, all of them trained in a joint multimedia program of Black College Wire and the Diversity Institute."

As for Gannett, cuts could be coming to a paper near you. Here's more from Journal-isms:

" '(Gannett) Publishers have been told when there's pressure on revenue'" to bring spending in line, Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell told Journal-isms. 'The messages go out that you're going to need to be strategic and you need to cut. It becomes a very local decision,' she said. However, Connell pointed out that Gannett just accepted 32 recent college graduates into its new Talent Development Program. "

The not-so-gentle reader who sent this noted that the incident calls for commentary. But once again, the actions of Gannett speak louder than any words.

BTW, here is the link for Maynard:

http://www.maynardije.org

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