Rumor: Media General Plans To Consolidate Copy Editing, Designing, Thus Cutting Jobs

We hear that Media General is planning to consolidate the copy-editing and design functions for most of its papers into a central location, which would ultimately end in reducing staff.

Several sources, including but not limited to Media General journos chatting in this thread have said that the company plans to move all its design, pagination, and copy editing crew to Lynchburg, Va., starting in the first quarter of the next year. That team will copy edit and design all of Media General’s papers (except, perhaps, for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Tampa Tribune, MG’s flagships) from the centralized location.

Presumably those who can relocate will be asked to reapply for their old jobs, but some won’t be able to move, and, we speculate, there won’t be enough jobs for everyone anyway because the whole point of a consolidation is to, well, consolidate.

Our tipster thinks this is an awful idea, not just because his job’s on the line:
“The cons are many, obviously. Let’s say I make the move; I’ve been through Bristol once in my life, on the way to a vacation in Tennessee with my family back when I was in college. Now, suddenly, I’m supposed to have the institutional knowledge to properly edit their [the MG-owned Bristol Herald Courier] copy?”

There hasn’t been anything officially announced by the company yet, though the rumors are flying and staff at papers all across MG’s properties are hearing variations on the same thing.

“I wish they would just announce the damn thing already. If I’m going to be laid off, knowing when would be nice…”

We contacted Ray Kozakewicz, manager of corporate communications at Media General, who told us that 1) “we talk with our employees first about any future changes,” and 2) “as you can appreciate, we don’t talk about what may happen in two months, or three months.”

Media General owns 21 daily newspapers and more than 200 specialty publications, including community weeklies (some of which are already being edited out of a central location). Quite a few people could be affected by this news…