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The Oklahoman fired more people”¦

8:12 PM EDT on May 6, 2010

Yesterday, The Oklahoman announced that they are firing 57 employees.  The announcement came in a carefully worded, looks-like-it-was-written-by-a-PR firm, news "article."  I quoted the word "article," because it's really nothing more than a press release.  If you need proof, just check out the first sentence.  It looks like Renzi Stone wrote it.

The jobs of 57 employees at The Oklahoman were eliminated Wednesday in response to a struggling advertising environment that affects all traditional media in this country.

After reading the "article," I did something that's kind of embarrassing.  I scrolled to the bottom of the page to take a look at the reader comments.  That's never a good thing.  NewsOK comments are on the same level as YouTube comments.  You read them at your own risk.  The only difference between the two is that YouTube comments are generally "This vid sux"¦lol" or "yes yes yes :) this is great!", whereas the NewsOK.com comments are generally long rants about abortion or have something to do with Clay Bennett stealing the Sonics.

Anyway, instead of seeing comments, I saw this:

You can't really complain about this too much.  The Oklahoman does have a commenting policy that gives them a good out.  Basically, they don't allow comments on editorials, crime news or stories that have to do with fatalities.   Since the "article" about the layoffs has to do with the slow painful death of the print industry and The Oklahoman, I guess it can fall under that clause.

That being said, it is kind of screwy that their news article was a press release and they blocked comments.  Since they obviously want this story to go away and die, we're going to give it more life and publish the real email that Publisher David Thompson sent to all OPUBCO employees.

Granted, there is nothing really new in the email.  It's kind of soft like the "article," but it does have a more human element. For example, David does request that supervisors post his email in common areas.  That way, the employees without email access can share the same fear, frustration and uncertainty that their Ethernet connected coworkers face.

Anyway, check it out after the jump.

From: David Thompson
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 11:27 AM
Subject: Workforce Changes

Dear Fellow Employees,

When the year began, I had hoped I would not have to send a communication like this, announcing an expense reduction plan that includes reductions in our workforce. Unfortunately, our financial performance versus budget during the first 4 months of the year necessitates such action.

In addition to a number of non-personnel-related expense reductions, senior management has determined the need to eliminate 57 positions filled with current employees. Notifications to those affected began this morning and will be completed by the end of the day tomorrow. We would like to complete this process as soon as possible, but we must do so within the parameters of individual work schedules. This makes for a sad week for all of us, but it is important for you to know that we are

trying very hard to take care of the affected individuals in a number of ways including termination pay, severance pay, subsidized COBRA coverage (relating to the continuation of employee insurance benefits), and outplacement services to aid in the search for new employment.

To learn more about the overall expense reduction plan and workforce reductions, as well as our challenges and opportunities going forward, I would like to encourage you to attend one of two Town Hall Meetings this Friday, May 7, in the Ground Floor Auditorium. The meetings will take place at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and you will be invited to ask questions after we share some information with you. Because Friday evenings are not a good time for our night shift Operations employees, we will be meeting with them in the near future. Please plan to attend one of the daytime meetings on the 7th if at all possible.

David

Note: If you are a manager of employees without e-mail access, please print and post this e-mail in a common area for all employees to see.

From: David Thompson
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 11:27 AM
To: .Announcements
Subject: Workforce Changes

Dear Fellow Employees,

When the year began, I had hoped I would not have to send a
communication like this, announcing an expense reduction plan that
includes reductions in our workforce.  Unfortunately, our financial
performance versus budget during the first 4 months of the year
necessitates such action.

In addition to a number of non-personnel-related expense reductions,
senior management has determined the need to eliminate 57 positions
filled with current employees.  Notifications to those affected began
this morning and will be completed by the end of the day tomorrow.  We
would like to complete this process as soon as possible, but we must do
so within the parameters of individual work schedules.  This makes for a
sad week for all of us, but it is important for you to know that we are
trying very hard to take care of the affected individuals in a number of
ways including termination pay, severance pay, subsidized COBRA coverage
(relating to the continuation of employee insurance benefits), and
outplacement services to aid in the search for new employment.

To learn more about the overall expense reduction plan and workforce
reductions, as well as our challenges and opportunities going forward, I
would like to encourage you to attend one of two Town Hall Meetings this
Friday, May 7, in the Ground Floor Auditorium.  The meetings will take
place at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and you will be invited to ask
questions after we share some information with you.  Because Friday
evenings are not a good time for our night shift Operations employees,
we will be meeting with them in the near future.  Please plan to attend
one of the daytime meetings on the 7th if at all possible.

David

Note:  If you are a manager of employees without e-mail access, please
print and post this e-mail in a common area for all employees to see.

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