Standard General tells Tegna employees ‘no intention to reduce staff’

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Typical Media CEO Deb McDermott tried using to serene rumors and problems that when and if her firm can take over Tegna, the new organization may possibly slice team.

In a extremely unusual go in the course of a takeover, and with takeover approval nonetheless in the fingers of the Federal Communications Fee, McDermott sent a memo to Tegna employees that incorporated one particular paragraph in daring font for emphasis:

You may possibly have study remarks in the push from groups opposing the transaction speculating that Conventional Typical will be chopping journalism and laying off journalists at the Company’s stations. These feedback are simply just untrue.

Conventional Basic and I have usually put a large value on neighborhood journalism and have no intention, and have by no means had the intention, of cutting down information or news workers at TEGNA stations. In simple fact, and as we have represented to the FCC, we do not intend to minimize station-level staffing following the transaction.

To the contrary, we anticipate to contend vigorously in all marketplaces, which will have to have continued financial investment in neighborhood journalism and newsgathering operations.

Our motivation to journalism is backed by both of those Standard General’s and my observe information of major regional broadcast teams more than the last 12 decades, such as all those at Younger Broadcasting, Media Standard and most a short while ago, Common Media Group.

The CEO’s e-mail follows what Standard Standard — the financial investment organization that owns Normal Media — calls “bewildering” scrutiny from the FCC. The FCC questioned for specific info about Regular General’s programs for staffing and serving the general public interest, and how it strategies to deal with retransmission agreements with cable and satellite companies. The FCC issued a protective buy that would have to have the company to mail confidential info to the government that would not have to be produced to the public.

Teams like Frequent Result in, the NewsGuild-CWA, and Community Knowledge have overtly opposed the takeover and asked the FCC to hold off the approval.

The speculation that Regular Typical might slice staff members may possibly be rooted in the sticky takeover war of words. Standard Normal head Soo Kim has been essential of Tegna’s leadership, even although making an attempt to acquire the enterprise. In April 2020, Typical Typical issued a specific attack on Tegna’s profitability that included a reference that fearful Tegna staff. It posted this graphic, in which it mentioned Tegna stations have “2x the range of personnel for every station when compared to peers” but lags guiding its friends in profitability.

(Regular Standard SEC submitting, April 13, 2020)

Regular Normal did not say that Tegna was overstaffed, but the comparison was unsettling to employees who look at what has occurred in the newspaper marketplace when personal equity fund professionals get above media corporations and slash team. Field observers point out that Tegna stations are mainly in more substantial marketplaces than sector peers, even though equally Nexstar and Grey have extra big sector stations to their portfolios in modern yrs.

In her electronic mail, McDermott does not outright say there will be no layoffs or personnel cuts — no person can make these predictions — but she did say that her personal track history as a media govt exhibits her dedication to journalism:

Possessing been a station basic manager and functioning with newsrooms for more than 30 decades, I firmly feel that powerful regional journalism is an essential part to a profitable regional broadcast station.

When I will have a lot additional to share with you in the long run about our publish-closing designs, I desired you to listen to these factors from me and reiterate our commitment to developing on the several successes you have presently accomplished. I glance ahead to conference you in particular person in the long term and to doing the job with you all to create new options for the Business.


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