A response from PMN Chairman of the Board.
Please see the below response to the Guild Executive Committee from Chairman Kopelman in response to the letter sent to him and the PMN
Board of Directors on February 6, 2019. We will keep you posted.
Diane Mastrull, President
Bill Ross, Executive Director
Dear Guild Executive Committee,
On behalf of the PMN Board I am writing to acknowledge and respectfully respond to your email to us yesterday.
As we all know well, the media industry has been under an economic siege across the country for more than a decade that continues to challenge
the viability of critical news organizations. Here in Philadelphia we are fighting for survival in the midst of that same crisis.
We are all aware that just in the past two weeks news organizations, both long standing and relatively newer ones, announced the layoffs
of 1,000 employees. In addition, just this past week McClatchy announced that it is looking to reduce its operations another 450 jobs. This is equal to about 10% of their entire company.
We all deeply wish the economics were better and that companies like ours could provide across the board wage increases for all employees,
whether they be union members or not. But given the disruptive industry headwinds we face, we find ourselves in a race against time to reinvent our business in an increasingly digital age. With meaningful annual declines in circulation and advertising, we
are struggling to maintain as many jobs for our valued employees as we can — while still investing in technology and capabilities to attempt a transformation to become a viable digital business. Even with the foresight of Gerry Lenfest and the establishment
of the Lenfest Institute, our success in navigating the digital transformation is far from guaranteed.
Terry and the executive team have indeed kept the Board up to date on all the issues unfolding at the company. In 2018 with the help of
the Super Bowl we were able to show a modest profit and as you know 25% of those proceeds will be distributed to every employee equally. As we recently reviewed the 2019 budget and operating plan, however, it was clear that this may be one of our most challenging
years yet. A lot of tough decisions have (and will have) to be made, but we are committed to continue to search for a sustainable business model.
With regards to your reference to the other trade union contracts, it appears to us that you may have incomplete information about the
amount of value the company realized (and needed) going forward. Perhaps it would make sense for you to sit with upper management to get a better understanding of how meaningful those savings will be — and how we hope they may help protect other jobs in
Our Board remains committed to Gerry’s mission of finding a sustainable business model to support local journalism, and despite all the
economic challenges we do greatly respect and support the work and contributions of all PMN employees. We also believe that PMN has one of the very best executive teams in the industry and they have our full support.