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Birmingham News & Other Papers Let Staff Go

Today, the Birmingham News, Huntsville Times, Mobile Press-Register and New Orleans Times-Picayune newspapers met with staffers, one-by-one, to tell them their roles in the newly redesigned digital-centric platform.

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  1. Sources inside the Birmingham News tell WBHM that staffers were told that they fell into one of three categories: 

    "Tier One -- You still have a job, though your duties may be modified."

    "Tier Two -- You don't have a job, but we invite you to apply for these positions which will now be open."

    "Tier Three -- You don't have a job."
  2. Advance Publications officials reportedly met with staffers alphabetically. 
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  5. Wade Kwon (an award-winning blogger and former newspaper reporter with the now defunct Birmingham Post-Herald) has started a list of Birmingham staffers and their status.  

    And Weld for Birmingham has intriguing details on what some of the reporters/columnists who have managed to keep their jobs will be doing (columnist and WBHM contributor John Archibald will be a "local buzz reporter."    On his Facebook page he says, "I don't know what that means, but it sounds ... intoxicating."

    By noon, the extent of the cuts were becoming clear. 
  6. In New Orleans, Times-Picayune readers have started a Facebook page (though it hasn't been updated since late May) and petition to save the paper and its employees.  Curiously (or not), no such public campaigning in Birmingham. 
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  8. It's still not clear how extensive the cuts are at al.com or how the move will change the web publication's structure.  There is word, though, from Wade Kwon at Media of Birmingham that Advance Publications has fired three of the eight members at Birmingham Magazine, including managing editor Carla Jean Whitley (@bhamboxset).  
  9. For background on this developing story, listen to WBHM's interviews with Cindy Martin (President and CEO of al.com and newly-named chief of the Alabama Media Group, the organization that will head up editorial, marketing and advertising for the new newspaper/digital venture), Micheline Maynard (former NY Times Detroit Bureau chief who's covering the cutbacks at the Times-Picayune for Forbes.com) and communications blogger (and former Birmingham News reporter) Carl Carter.

    Also interesting... check out blogger Andre Natta's speculations on what could be behind the move to a three-day-a-week newspaper.  

    David Griner has set up a Twitter Feed and Facebook page of Alabama journalism/communications jobs to help those displaced by the changes find new work. They're using #ALNewsJobs.
  10. This is a developing story.  Email updates to news@wbhm.org
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