Kevin Slimp: My math must be all wrong, or is it McClatchy’s?

by Kevin Slimp

I remember working with a former executive of McClatchy several years ago and being told “The biggest mistake we made was when we started outsourcing jobs overseas.”

McClatchy, if memory serves me correctly, led the way for big newspaper groups to outsource everything from customer service to design from their local properties to other countries.

“It was a huge problem,” I remember being told, “when an operator in India would ask, “How do you spell ‘Main Street?’”

Now, McClatchy has filed bankruptcy because “McClatchy’s qualified pension covers more than 24,500 current and future retirees — many retired blue-collar workers who manned printing presses or loaded newspapers onto delivery trucks — supported by fewer than 2,800 active employees,” according to a story today by Kevin Hall at McClatchy.

I wonder how they ended up with so few employees to fund the guaranteed pensions of past employees.

I suppose math never was my strong suit. Wait, actually I think it is.

McClatchy and their brethren would love for us to think this is all somehow related to “the grim reality facing the local news industry amid profound transformation in its business and revenue model.”

Those are their words, not mine.

According to a story out today by Kevin Hall at McClatchy, “In filing for Chapter 11, McClatchy is following a familiar path for legacy newspaper companies; most other major newspaper companies, including Tribune, Lee Co. and New Media/Gatehouse, which recently acquired Gannett, preceded McClatchy on this bankruptcy restructuring path.”

I guess that makes it alright … or “all right.”

I’ve got to get back to my multiplication tables.