Posted by: Jon Fine on November 20, 2008
Associated Press CEO Tom Curley just concluded a town hall meeting in New York—beamed to staffers in remote bureaus—in which he said the news cooperative’s staff will shrink by 10% next year.
He did say, according to one attendee (and I am paraphrasing here), that he hoped to achieve that primarily through attrition rather than layoffs. Still, the AP employs 4,100 staffers, including 3,000 journalists. It’s been reported that the AP has a hiring freeze on now, but, it’s a bit hard to see how 400 or so will just leave between now and the end of next year, given the job market for journalists these days.
Curley also said that the AP is opening two more ‘regional’ editing hubs, in Phoenix and Chicago (one exists in Atlanta and another is planned for Philadelphia), in an ongoing move to centralize editing—that is, to end up with fewer editors and, perhaps, more reporters in the organization.
An Associated Press spokesman just emailed me the following statement:
The Associated Press, like virtually every business in the world, is defining strategies for operating in these complex and difficult financial times. All areas and ways of doing business are being reviewed. The AP, which recently instituted a strategic hiring freeze, may need to reduce staff over the next year. If so, it hopes to achieve much of the reduction through attrition.
While we are looking for new efficiencies in the way we operate, AP’s mission as the essential global news network does not change. Plans for the rollout of regional desks in the United States, which will provide deeper, more relevant coverage for our members, will continue, with hubs being developed in Chicago and Phoenix joining those already announced in Atlanta and Philadelphia.