A higher price for saving intern wages

The Montgomery Advertiser was forced to make quick budget cuts last week, Journal-isms said today, leaving three interns suddenly without summer jobs. Similar cuts could be coming at other Gannett properties, the site says.

“I would not have done this if I had any other choice,” Editor Wanda Lloyd told Journal-isms. She said publisher Scott Brown told her recently the paper would be asked to consider possible cuts for the rest of this year. “The money for the three interns was not in the budget,” Lloyd said. In order to meet new budget targets, Lloyd said, she might have had to cut a full-time staff member.

The good news: The displaced interns were hired by Schurz Communications, a South Bend, Ind., chain of 15 dailies and five weeklies. The bad news: A bigger cost may yet outweigh any of Montgomery’s savings. I’m talking about the negative publicity that followed, especially in the wake of CEO Craig Dubow‘s well-publicized bid to boost talent development. Here’s one blogger’s reaction, linked to from heavily trafficked Romenesko‘s blog: “Intern Injustice: Gannett Gives The Middle Finger To Three Ala. Interns.” Ouch!

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