KNIGHTRIDDER.com LAYS OFF 68 EMPLOYEES

By: Karim Mostafa

Company Refocuses On Employment With Plans To Hire 34





KnightRidder.com announced Monday that it has laid off 68 people
in what it describes as an effort to reach profitability by year-

end 2002.


The layoffs were in the sales, technical support, and content
production divisions, said Dan Finnigan, president of Knight
Ridder’s San Jose, Calif.-based new-media division. Finnigan
attributed the layoffs in content production divisions to
improved technology that makes editorial content work more
efficient. He said their sites would continue to produce original
content.


Finnigan stressed that the timing of Monday’s announcement had
nothing to do with the current “shakeout of the fly-by-night dot-

coms.” He added that the shakeout is a good thing because it
makes it easier to spot long-term dot-com players.


KnightRidder.com’s cut of 16% of its work force was followed by
the announcement that it will be hiring 34 more people, which,
according to Finnigan, will hopefully be completed by the
beginning of 2001. Ten of the 68 persons laid off were offered
positions if they relocated, Finnigan said.



“As new fast growing opportunities emerge in the Internet
advertising marketplace, like the employment area, we must evolve
our organization quickly to take advantage,” he said. Earlier
this year, in partnership with Tribune Interactive,
KnightRidder.com acquired CareerBuilder Inc. and the remainder of
CareerPath.com, previously owned by seven newspaper companies.


KnightRidder.com will produce locally branded versions for
CareerBuilder in local markets, Finnigan said. As a result,
KnightRidder.com is hiring online employment specialists as it
focuses resources on recruitment classified sales.



Other reorganization efforts include building a new single
platform for the Real Cities’ network’s 37 Web sites – an
endeavor announced earlier this year – and strengthening
KnightRidder.com’s multi-market advertising scale.
KnightRidder.com has been trying to increase its appeal to
national advertisers as it places the Real Cities network onto
one technology platform. “We’re seeking to outsource more pieces
of our platform,” said Finnigan, who added that new technology
partners will be announced in the upcoming weeks.


At a time when picking technology providers is like playing pin-

the-tail-on-the-donkey, Finnigan offers tips as to what he’s
looking for before signing. He looks for a company that offers
the best technology and has a well-documented history of customer
service. He also likes companies that have a wide variety of
customers, serving different industries.


Finnigan said that niche-segment companies, such as ones that
only serve the newspaper industry, probably aren’t going to stick
around for the long-term.


With these layoffs, KnightRidder.com joins both large and small
companies affiliated with the newspaper business, such as Tribune
Interactive and AdStar.com, that have laid off workers in recent
months.







Karim Mostafa (kmostafa@editorandpublisher.com) is associate editor for E&P Online.







Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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