Monday, May 21, 2007

The San Francisco Chronicle is about to Cut 25 Percent of its Newsroom Jobs

Thanks to Romanesko, I now know that the current SF Chronicle union contract is online and where to find it.

Therein you will find the salary tables, the minimum salary a reporter gets after six years on the job. Minimum salary is not gaudy.

Back when I was with the Chron more than 15 years ago, I heard that half of the reporters and editors were making more than scale, though I also heard that most of those over scale were either $25 or $50 a week over.

Herb Caen? Who knew?

I was making $25 a week over scale. When I told management I was considering moving over to USF, I was offered another $25 a week, and that offer was somewhat half-hearted.

Most of my dear Chronicle friends have retired, moved on, been bought out or nudged out over the years, but several of the very dearest remain. These friends are among the very best the Chron has, rich in experience, imbued with talent, smart to the point of wisdom, part of the fabric of the community and thus superbly equipped to report on that community.

But there are others on staff -- there have to be; it is the way of the world -- who are cheaper; or who are more obedient; or (and I hate to say this) who are somehow able to sell themselves as more "cyber savvy" in a new world where that slippery and ill-defined characteristic becomes a selling point, all the more desirable because it is so slippery and ill-defined.

And the latest union contract removed seniority as absolute determinant of who gets cut first.

Here are the schedule A minimums from that contract. Whatever else my friends are -- even though I am sure they are all over union scale -- they are bargains.


The following shall be the minimum weekly salaries in effect during the term of this Agreement:


6yrs (top minimum)

$1,176.00 1/1/2007

$1,189.12 7/1/2007

$1,202.24 1/1/2008

At the end of the year, the top minimum will be $62,516.48. My wife says if we win the Mega Lottery, she will start her own architecture firm. Me, I'll start my own newspaper with some yet-to-be determined but exceedingly clever Net presence, hire my own kids cheap, bring in the old pros to lead the way.

If that's going down with the ship, then anchors aweigh.

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