Media General Implements 15-Day Staffer Furloughs

Recovery not all it's cracked up to be
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Media General has instructed employees to take 15 unpaid days off before the end of the year in an effort to cut significant costs at the newspaper publisher and broadcaster.

CEO Marshall Morton circulated an internal memo June 23, which appears on the journalism site Poynter.org. A Media General spokesperson confirmed the details of the furloughs.

"As we approach the midpoint of 2011, the much anticipated economic recovery continues to be unevenly felt across our markets, and, more recently, the economy has faltered," Morton wrote. "While new revenue and website growth initiatives have been successful, these efforts have not produced enough revenues to offset declines in our traditional lines of business. As a result, properties across the company have had to lower their cash flow expectations several times this year."

Furloughs became somewhat common during the recession, as the likes of Media General, Newport, Freedom and Gannett implemented them staffwide. They became particularly useful for companies with large newspaper holdings.

Morton said the furloughs follow efforts to reduce discretionary spending and headcount at the company.

The chief exec said 2012 looks considerably brighter. "Next year is not far off, and it's one that is expected to be strong for Media General, with Political advertising, the Summer Olympics and continued success with new revenue initiatives," Morton wrote. "I am grateful for your diligence as we bridge ourselves to better times."

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