Reporters at San Diego daily ordered to dress in ‘sharp business attire’

To go from ‘good to great’ this year, staff of the San Diego Union-Tribune will have to work longer hours and fine tune their closets.

How important is your work attire?

Last year, PR Daily readers weighed in on this question and overwhelmingly said that it matters.

“It shows respect for yourself and your client (and your clients culture),” one reader commented. “It shows attention to detail. It communicates professionalism. What we wear is a statement about how we want others to think of us (and how we think of ourselves).”

The new owners of the San Diego Union-Tribune seem to agree. On Friday, employees received a memo informing them on how the paper can go from “good” to “great”—with a new bistro, standard business hours, and snappier attire.

According to the memo, employees will transition from a 37.5 hour work week to a 40 hour week. Office hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., plus an hour for lunch. Staffers will receive the same salaries for the additional hours.

As anyone who has worked in a newsroom knows, “standard business hours” are a pipe dream. Crimes, meetings, social events, traffic accidents, weird weather, and so on, don’t call it a day at 5:30 p.m., West Coast time.

But that’s not all; there’s also a new dress code. Per the memo:

Appropriate Appearance – While we are upgrading the appearance of the workplace for everyone, we would like employees who work with the public to dress in sharp business attire. Again, individual supervisors will detail what is expected. Employees who do not work directly with the public, should keep in mind that we always have visitors, government officials/dignitaries in and out of our building, and the desire is to have a professional workplace appearance. ‘Casual Friday’ will continue, but should be only slightly less business oriented than Monday through Thursday.”

In November, Doug Manchester, chairman of the Manchester Financial Group, bought the Union-Tribune for more than $110 million, according to The New York Times. In a statement about the purchase, Manchester said:

“Taking ownership of a 143-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization comes with great responsibility. We believe San Diego is the finest city in America and pledge to be strong advocates for the city’s interests and conscientious caretakers of The Union-Tribune and its legacy.”

It seems that part of this “great responsibility” is making sure the paper’s reporters and editors spiff themselves up. What’s next? A mustache ban?



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