Media

Arizona Republic Newsroom Staffer Finds Need to Reapply for Job "Insulting"

We just talked to an Arizona Republic reporter who tells us, predictably, that the process of having to reapply for a job is "insulting."

Reportedly, editors at the state's largest newspaper figured the process would be less painful -- for them -- than pointing fingers at specific people to get rid of. But the newsroom is facing a 15 percent cut, and it has to be achieved somehow.

See also: -It's a Wrap -Republic Layoffs Include Veteran Journos, Former East Valley Tribune Refugees

The humiliation factor does seem rather high in the reapplication scheme.

We're imagining interview questions like, "Why do you feel you're qualified to do the job you've been doing for the last 10 years?"

Russ Wiles, a business reporter who penned an article a couple of weeks ago about how not to blow an interview, ought to do better than most, no?

Current staffers will be competing with applicants from outside the paper, too, reportedly. Even worse, we've heard stories of staffers coveting the jobs of their own co-workers, a situation that the reapplication process clearly encourages. It's survival of the fittest, with the winners going on to face next year's onslaught of furloughs and probable layoffs.

The only consolation this time around is that relatively few number of jobs -- about a dozen -- will end up cut.

Veterans should take the move in stride, since they've been through this wringer before. A major restructuring in 2007 also had Republic staffers reapplying for their jobs. And as in 2007, the latest deck-chair reshuffling will apparently have people applying for positions with funky titles, like "things-to-do content coach."

This year's gutting won't be as bad as last year's, which saw veteran journalists like Lori Baker and Kerry Fehr-Snyder getting the ax. But the changes will likely be palpable for readers.

Naturally, top folks on the editorial side, including Executive Editor Nicole Carroll, don't have to reapply.

The changes are in preparation for a split in Gannett, the paper's parent company, announced in early August. The corporation's becoming two companies, one for newspapers and the other for businesses seen to have a more secure future -- TV stations and non-journalistic Internet sites, like cars.com.

Earlier this month, Gannett's flagship newspaper, USA Today, announced massive cuts in its workforce because of declining print-advertising sales.

Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern