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David Cottrell & Co Chartered Accountants, The Old Bakery, 11a Canford Lane, Bristol, BS9 3DE

David Cottrell & Company are Chartered Accountants and registered Auditors but our clients also treat us as business advisors. Supported by a professional team, David Cottrell has over 20 years of hands on commercial experience. This means that our advice is not only technically sound,as you would expect from professional accountants, but also practical, taking into the account the realities of running a business.



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Conversely, if the Strib's new owners cast a covetous glance eastward, they'd shrink their newsroom from 270 to 224. Let's just forget I said that.

What's sobering is that many of these newsrooms have recently experienced severe whackings to be on par with the Strib. The Journal Constitution, for example, pole axed 30 percent of its newsroom in March. It Prada Clutch Bag For Men was in solid gold standard territory until then.

The (Tarnished) Gold Standard

in recent months, and the reorganization plan implies a stable headcount.

This could mean the Strib got skinny first; you could argue they've already raced to the bottom and others are merely catching up. I'd certainly try to convince the new owners that the medicine has already been taken.

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Inspired by an Alan Mutter column pegging staffing to circulation, I decided to look at just how the Strib stacks up to its big city peers.

Fundamentally, there are probably better methods for figuring comparables, like pegging staffing to revenue. But that data is hard to obtain for private businesses. Focusing on circulation penalizes papers that have done a better job migrating readers to the web. And of course, headcount doesn't measure quality or efficiency.

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I know gold doesn't tarnish, but go with me here. These are the papers with a better than one to 1,000 ratio. In other words, they still employ more journalists than Mutter's standard. But none are immune from layoffs.

Mutter, an ex editor and media entrepreneur who writes "Reflections of a Newsosaur," pegs the traditional industry formula as 1 newsroom staffer per 1,000 daily subscribers.

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As for the counts themselves, most come from credible published reports (many in the papers themselves) and interviews. However, in a few cases, information is several months old.

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on par with the Strib, 27 more.

But of course, journalists have seen a lot of bloody rolling heads recently, and the new owners are bloodless financiers, not newspapermen. You can bet they've looked at comparables from similarly sized newspapers to see where the Strib is at least in their view fat.

The New York Times and Washington Post lead the pack; they have one journalist per 830 daily subscribers. Both papers are ambitious, with long time family owners, who have covered big losses more than boardroom peers. The Times owned (for now) Boston Globe stands at 1 per 920.

This is where the Strib lives. It has a 270 person newsroom and 320,000 daily circulation one journalist for every 1,185 subscribers. To meet Mutter's standard, it would have to staff up by 50 people. Don't hold your breath.

I've heard from several journalists here and elsewhere speculating on newsroom cuts. There's no evidence for that yet; while the money guys aren't talking (at least to Gucci Backpack For Kids

Based on the data, the papers fall into three groups:

Still, the Strib has tons of company: the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Atlanta Journal Constitution, St. Louis Post Dispatch and Arizona Republic. Times is on the fringes, with a 1:1280 ratio.

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´╗┐new owners cut newsroom staff

OK, enough fine print let's roll the numbers!

The other paper, curiously, is the Philadelphia Inquirer, at 1:961. The paper is in bankruptcy, but publisher Brian Tierney is fighting a loud battle to keep it out of the hands of creditors. One of his arguments is that local owners will keep more robust newsrooms than the money guys. He's walking the talk, at least relatively, at least for now. (Note: the 300 person newsroom does not include sibling Philadelphia Daily News, and union and management agreed on the number.)

Like our nation's, this middle class is in decline. None meet the 1,000 standard, clustering around 1,150.

But of course, this isn't the bottom.

A federal bankruptcy judge should approve the Star Tribune's reorganization plan tomorrow, putting the paper's new owners (and current creditors) in charge.

The Middle Class

me), the Strib has filled newsroom departures Gucci Belt Blue Flowers

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These papers' staffing is so skinny you can see rib cages.

At the top of the bottom is our own Pioneer Press, with one newsroom staffer per 1,425 daily subscribers. To meet the Mutter Standard, the 135 person newsroom would need 57 more bodies, or, to be Gucci Bag For Women

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The Bottom

The theory, or rather the fear, is that the overlords will rush headlong into the race to the bottom.

Some papers including the New York Post, Daily News and Newsday, are missing; corrections and additions are welcome. A chart is at the bottom of the piece. Feel free to use the email address at right.

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