Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tribune To Pare Newsroom 20%

By: Ann Saphir April 13, 2009

(Crain’s) — The Chicago Tribune plans to cut another 20% of its newsroom staff in yet another bid to reduce expenses amid continuing advertising declines.

Staffers were told of the impending layoffs last week, according to three people who attended a meeting on the topic. The cuts will take place over the next several weeks, the sources said.

The expected cuts are the latest attempt to reduce expenses at the paper, whose parent Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in December.

A Tribune spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Trib has been adding some workers — including hiring a new spokeswoman — as it beefs up staffing in “emerging growth opportunities,” Publisher Tony Hunter told employees in an e-mail earlier this year.

The paper is also shuffling some newsroom duties. Last month it mixed copy editing, page design, graphics, imaging and some photo editing into a single department, creating new job descriptions that will combine copy editing with graphics and photo editing with design.

In August 2008, the Tribune had 480 employees in its newsroom, according to a memo from Editor in Chief Gerould Kern. It cut about a dozen workers in December, just before its Chapter 11 filing, and eliminated the jobs of another 20 people in February. It’s not clear how many other workers have left and not been replaced in recent months.

(Reporter Lorene Yue contributed.)

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