Houston Chronicle To Employees: No Raises, But Enjoy The Barbecue & 5k Runs

Categories: Spaced City

The memo from this summer:
From: Stephenson, Tom (HC)
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2012 9:46 AM
Subject: How we're going to make the Houston Chronicle one of Texas'
top 50 best workplaces

Dear Chronicle colleague,

Becoming one of the Top 50 Places to Work in Texas is going to take
talent, ambition, creativity, vision, planning, tenacity, moxie, and
flawless execution. The Houston region continues to lead the nation in
economic growth and diversity, with most leading indicators suggesting
innovation and investment will continue to thrive, and we are poised
to both hasten and benefit from these fair winds.

Realizing a shared vision as the region's preeminent media company
begins - and ends - with our people. To do so, we expect contribution
and engagement from every level in every department in the
organization, so let's start with the blueprint. To facilitate,
attached is a high-level summary of our Houston Chronicle Media
Group's three-year strategic plan. Please plan to spend some time with
it, including how your daily actions can and will contribute to the
future success of it.

As the host of our region's great conversations and challenges, we
can't expect to remain a dynamic, thriving media organization without
recognizing the significant changes facing all industries,
particularly media, even amidst improving economic conditions. And
while change can be uncomfortable, we will need to both embrace and
create unique opportunities, taking full advantage of the relationship
we enjoy with our parent company, Hearst, and drawing from the
vitality of the great region of Houston as we do so.

We've scheduled a series of interactive employee large group meetings
to share the details of our plan. Expect a short overview of
highlights, with plenty of time for questions and answers. Because we
want to keep the meetings to an hour, please feel free to help us
shape our discussion by submitting any questions you have in advance
to townhall@chron.com.

The meetings will take place onsite over several days next month, with
morning and evening sessions both downtown and at the southwest
facility. You'll be receiving a separate invitation by email; please
RSVP so proper logistic arrangements can be made. Given the subject
matter, we want all employees to be encouraged to attend.

We look forward to opening more lines of feedback and allowing for
more transparency within our organization. To that end, while you'll
be seeing an increase of communications from us, we thank you in
advance for treating this as an internal, confidential document.

Thank you for your heightened dedication to the Chronicle Media Group.
We have great opportunities ahead of us, and our success is directly
tied to you.


Follow Houston Press on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews or @HoustonPress.

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I was the primary maintainer and developer of the entire Hearst blogging network from January 5 through Friday, July 13, 2012, including blog.chron.com, blog.sfgate.com, etc.


My contract was summarily terminated without cause or warning after I had just finished working 563 hours (123 overtime!) getting the implementation of pix.29-95.com to somewhat work (after my manager Mr. Slusher let the project totally blow up) and doing most of the backend work for the chron blog redesign and migration to new servers.


I was terminated so quickly they wouldn't even let me submit 30+ hours of work I had almost completely done, including a complete re-implementation of the blogs' gallery system. I felt adrift and that's what I get for working os hard for a company that my relationships and health suffered.


@richardjustice maybe you leaving made it a good place to work?


Sentence of the year, Red. Well done.


To be sure, some of the message between management and staff might have been garbled or misunderstood in the delivery -- we're thinking that if you hear "no raises" and "barbecue" strung close together, you tend to lose focus and concentrate on the negative from that point on.


@richardjustice @houstonchron The Chron says the beatings will continue until morale improves.


@richardjustice easy fix. Come back. Its just not the same anymore especially while our Astros dismantle and rebuild.


@richardjustice Did you see it coming or did they simply fall apart without you?


@richardjustice I've got my own private bathroom with phone and answering machine by the toilet. Give me a ring sometime.


@richardjustice @houstonchron Given a choice between a raise and a BBQ, who wouldn't choose some ribs and chicken?


Typical Chron speak; many words used saying little.


"The Houston region continues to lead the nation in economic growth and diversity, with most leading indicators suggesting innovation and investment will continue to thrive, and we are poised to both hasten and benefit from these fair winds. And upon these fair winds, you can expect an occasional BBQ lunch, served at your desk free of charge, and borne aloft by reputable interns, followed by a jog throughout one of the nation's most resilient and attractive urban areas. Because the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die!"

Jackie Hibbard
Jackie Hibbard

Fire fighters aren't getting a raise for the next 3yrs, why should you get one at the comical? It's the bad 'economy' so we all must do our part!

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

But what about the paraplegic vegetarians?


It was mostly because of my unexpected, unnecessary termination that the blog redesign was not released on 21 July 2012 as scheduled. I had talked to my manager just the day before of my intense desire to take two weeks of unpaid time off, because I was beat to the bone; he denied me a vacation saying, "Ted, we need you too much". Then the next day, he terminated me.


The guy never had the courage to tell me I was let go. He had the contract agency deliver the message. He never once told me why. He told others it was due to lack of funds but immediately hired outsourcers who struggle to keep pace.


@Jackie Hibbard most Chronicle hourly employees have not had a raise in six years, we wish it was only three...

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