Standard General tells Tegna employees ‘no intention to reduce staff’

Conventional Media CEO Deb McDermott experimented with to calm rumors and considerations that when and if her company requires above Tegna, the new enterprise could possibly minimize staff members.

In a extremely abnormal transfer all through a takeover, and with takeover approval nonetheless in the palms of the Federal Communications Fee, McDermott despatched a memo to Tegna personnel that involved just one paragraph in daring font for emphasis:

You might have read reviews in the push from groups opposing the transaction speculating that Common Normal will be chopping journalism and laying off journalists at the Company’s stations. These remarks are merely untrue.

Conventional Common and I have usually positioned a significant value on community journalism and have no intention, and have in no way had the intention, of minimizing information or news personnel at TEGNA stations. In fact, and as we have represented to the FCC, we do not intend to lower station-degree staffing pursuing the transaction.

To the opposite, we be expecting to compete vigorously in all marketplaces, which will need continued expense in regional journalism and newsgathering functions.

Our motivation to journalism is backed by each Common General’s and my monitor data of primary local broadcast groups about the very last 12 decades, which include these at Younger Broadcasting, Media Standard and most not long ago, Conventional Media Group.

The CEO’s email follows what Standard Basic — the expense business that owns Common Media — calls “bewildering” scrutiny from the FCC. The FCC questioned for detailed information about Normal General’s options for staffing and serving the general public desire, and how it programs to cope with retransmission agreements with cable and satellite organizations. The FCC issued a protecting purchase that would have to have the enterprise to deliver private information and facts to the govt that would not have to be unveiled to the community.

Groups including Typical Cause, the NewsGuild-CWA, and Community Awareness have openly opposed the takeover and asked the FCC to hold off the approval.

The speculation that Typical Normal may possibly cut staff may well be rooted in the sticky takeover war of phrases. Standard Typical head Soo Kim has been vital of Tegna’s leadership, even while making an attempt to purchase the company. In April 2020, Normal Typical issued a specific assault on Tegna’s profitability that involved a reference that concerned Tegna staff. It posted this graphic, in which it reported Tegna stations have “2x the amount of workers for each station when compared to peers” but lags at the rear of its peers in profitability.

(Conventional Basic SEC filing, April 13, 2020)

Common Normal did not say that Tegna was overstaffed, but the comparison was unsettling to staff who look at what has transpired in the newspaper sector when non-public fairness fund supervisors choose around media organizations and slash team. Field observers issue out that Tegna stations are primarily in larger sized marketplaces than field friends, whilst equally Nexstar and Grey have extra significant industry stations to their portfolios in modern many years.

In her email, McDermott does not outright say there will be no layoffs or workers cuts — no one can make these types of predictions — but she did say that her possess monitor record as a media govt demonstrates her perseverance to journalism:

Possessing been a station normal supervisor and functioning with newsrooms for extra than 30 decades, I firmly imagine that powerful neighborhood journalism is an vital element to a productive regional broadcast station.

While I will have substantially extra to share with you in the future about our post-closing plans, I wished you to hear these factors from me and reiterate our dedication to building on the a lot of successes you have currently reached. I look ahead to conference you in individual in the potential and to doing the job with you all to build new prospects for the Business.

Ann C. Toledo

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