-By Warner Todd Huston
In another sign that print media is in serious trouble, widely praised, DC-based newspaper Roll Call has been suffering a series of layoffs over the last month and this week the company, CQ Roll Call, was hit with even more drastic cuts.
Roll Call is the quintessential insider newspaper featuring award-winning reporting on the goings on in our nation’s capitol. Roll Call has been a fixture on the Hill since 1955.
On Tuesday, Fishbowl DC reported that it had received an email crying, "Fire sale at CQ Roll Call," and reporting that layoffs were to be announced for the business side of the company.
We received word late yesterday that three conference rooms (one that can be split in half by a dividing wall and one other large room) had been booked for this morning’s proceedings.
Well, that sounded ominous, didn't it?
Only a few minutes later, Fishbowl went on to report that some 30 employees were laid off at Roll Call.
According to Roll Call suits, the company is reshuffling its priorities and the original reporting from Congress and the publishing of the newspaper are getting less focus while other areas of "the greatest growth" are taking priority.
Heads started to roll on July 25 when the VP of Marketing, William Kiniry, was laid off. The next day five more were let go, mostly from the marketing team. Then came the "bloodbath" noted above.
So, what is the new focus? A publicist for Roll Call told the media:
“As we have mentioned previously, we are realigning our business team to focus on the areas of greatest growth – electronic, mobile, and social. The new organization gives us greater focus on our product, sales and marketing efforts.
“We are continuing with our plans combine our newsrooms as we move to one print daily. We are launching a new advocacy and engagement platform, which is poised to be the strongest product on the market, serving customers inside and out of DC. We are moving forward in the digital space—investing in CQ.com and continuing our legislative information and bill track services.
“We will continue to find ways to best meet the needs of our readers—which both CQ and Roll Call have been doing for over 50 years.”
In all it's just another example of a newspaper struggling to find where it can fit in with this new electronic news world.