McClatchy, the parent company of the Kansas City Star and the Wichita Eagle, announced it will offer voluntary buyouts to about 10 percent of its employees. McClatchy CEO Craig Forman made the announcement via email to employees and at a staff meeting at the Miami Herald, the newspaper chain’s flagship. The Star and Eagle are the largest metro papers serving Kansas.
Forman said the buyouts are part of an effort to “align the size of our workforce to the changes that come with digital transformation.”
The recent cuts come on the heels of a December announcement that the paper chain intended to move all of its design and copy editing functions to Charlotte, North Carolina. The voluntary buyout announcement comes less than 6 months after the chain announced cutting 140 employees nationwide last August. Those cuts eliminated 140 employees. This announcement will trim McClatchy staffing by another 10 percent.
According to the Forman email, about 450 McClatchy staff members received early voluntary retirement offers. They have until Feb. 19 to accept.
“This will be a one-time opportunity,” the email warns. “We do not anticipate another voluntary early retirement program.” Forman said McClatchy’s transformation is vitally important to the its future. The changes “will help us get to growth faster in a digital company that will be smaller for the foreseeable future.”
The news is another in a long string of disappointments for McClatchy staff but as the Miami New Times reports, “…life is still apparently pretty good for Forman and the rest of the newspaper chain’s corporate board.” Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Forman collected a $900,000 bonus in 2017 in addition to his salary of $823,846 and stock awards exceeding $500,000. The Columbia Journalism Review reports Forman signed a new contract last month, “…which includes a base pay of $1 million, a bonus of $1 million, and an additional $35,000 monthly stipend … to pay for Forman’s travel, housing, office, and security expenses.” Forman’s old contract provided a stipend of $5,000 per month.