The Chicago Tribune Publisher Tony Hunter's announcement, reported by Phil Rosenthal here appears to be full of corporate double talk. "Among targets of opportunity, Hunter cited increased cross-media sales and business services," according to Rosenthal.
Cross-media (advertising and marketing) sales has been the holy grail of the Tribune Co for years. An expanded strategy of this type was behind the Tribune Cos purchase of the Los Angeles Times (Times Mirror Co). How is Hunter going to make it happen now? What knowledge and expertise does he have that previous management stumbled over? The market for advertising is drying up, which Hunter admits in the Rosenthal column by saying, "The recession has had a dramatic impact on our revenue performance. We are experiencing significant declines across all key categories. And it doesn’t look like there’s any relief in sight."
Whet Moser, at the Chicago Reader says in response he'd like some clean-cut language when it comes time to fire him (let's hope that doesn't happen). “The word rightsizing, with the implication this company is the wrong size with you in it, just makes my blood boil,” Moser writes (emphasis from original).
Here's a brief summary of the “rightsizing” at the Chicago Tribune in the last year: March 2008 buyouts, August 2008 layoffs, November 2008 layoffs and now February 2009 layoffs. It's not so much rightsizing as wrongsizing that's occurring there. According to Crain's Chicago Business, Hunter said “business conditions are ever changing, requiring nimble, decisive action by all of us.”
It is hard to understand how four separate layoffs in a twelve month period is decisive. I'd accept corporate double-speak if it included real “nimble” and “decisive” action.