Matt Bors
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Post-Mortem On The O

The final numbers are in for the layoffs at The Oregonian and they aren't pretty: Close to 100 employees lost their job along with, reportedly, a soda machine. The Willamette Week reports deep cuts in the newsroom: "As many as 49 reporters, editors, designers and photographers—nearly a quarter of the remaining news staff—will be gone by Sept. 27." Editors at the O will now be referred to as “managing producers” while editor in chief Peter Bhatia’s will now be the “vice president of content.”
Staffers say the newsroom has become obsessed with a program called, which measures real-time Web traffic, shows which stories are getting the most hits, and identifies where readers click after finishing those stories. Veteran reporters who did not get laid off say Web traffic trumps other yardsticks, to the detriment of deeply reported explanatory stories for which the paper is known.
In another column at, Kevin Allman writes about what happened when Oregonian owners Advance Publications gutted The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.
Down here, the editor became the “vice president of content,” just like Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia. Copy editors, who do the paper’s fact-checking, got axed; “quality assurance producers” were added to “ensure that every post meets search engine optimization goals.” ... Earlier this month, after the corpse of a young local teacher was recovered from a bayou, NOLA Media Group’s digital czar was crowing. “2 galleries, one of the car being pulled from the water, and a second of the memorials, have generated 863,463 page views,” he wrote in a staff memo. “We were everywhere, and we owned this story!”
06.27.2013 |