Some might call it a savvy reinvention to compete in the digital age, and others would say it just amounts to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
In a continuing effort to refocus its dwindling resources on the Internet and away from the print edition, The Cincinnati Enquirer is restructuring its news-gathering operation and giving new assignments to key staffers.
Editor Tom Callinan sent a memo Thursday afternoon to staffers, detailing the latest changes. They include moving Krista Ramsey from the editorial board to the reporting staff, switching Assistant Features Managing Editor Bill Cieslewicz to the Metro Desk, and making former Special Projects Editor Lee Ann Hamilton the new business editor.
Also, Northern Kentucky General Manager Dennis Hetzel will join The Enquirer’s newly expanded digital group to focus on building the NKY.com Web site, and the CiN Weekly operation will move under the control of Life and Magazines Editor Michael Perry.
Further, former Metro Editor Julie Engebrecht will see her role expanded as Local News Director, becoming responsible for all local news including the Sports, Business and Life pages.
More changes are expected in coming weeks, Callinan said. Staffers shouldn’t view the changes as demotions but everyone “should check our egos at the door.”
“You’ve noticed a few people moving into new workspaces,’ Callinan wrote. “In the next several weeks we will be announcing a series of moves and assignments to set the stage for the future.
“The restructuring will better integrate print and online teams and refocus our digital efforts with a ‘channel’ approach to reach different audiences with various strategies and print and digital products.”
Callinan added, “As the plan comes together, your patience and flexibility is appreciated. Please keep in mind this is a restructuring based on the work we need to do going forward, leaving the past behind. Many positions, including top managers, will be affected. While reporting structures change there are no demotions in my view. We are entering a stage that will call for extreme collaboration and, at times, ambiguity. This is a time to check our egos at the door, roll up our sleeves and get to work saving our jobs for now and building our business for the future.”
In January The Gannet Co., The Enquirer’s parent firm, announced that all non-unionized workers must take a five-day unpaid furlough from their jobs before the end of March. The action was taken in wake of sluggish advertising revenues and declining stock prices.
Late last year, at least 30 people — including 13 in the newsroom — were laid off, sources say. Those departures were in addition to the voluntary severance packages The Enquirer’s management approved for 60 staffers from various departments in September, including 15 from the newsroom.