Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATE: McClatchy Cutbacks Deeper at Some Papers

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATE: McClatchy Cutbacks Deeper at Some Papers

Article excerpt

McClatchy's plan to cut 10% of its workforce, or some 1,400 jobs, is not being implemented with equal damage everywhere, according to local newspapers. While The Miami Herald is being hit with a 17% staff cut, others, such as The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., are seeing less pain, with a 3.6% cutback.

The highly praised McClatchy Washington, D.C., bureau, meanwhile, is not losing any jobs during this round, according to Howard Weaver, McClatchy's vice president/news. "The bureau is smaller than it used to be, and it covers things differently," Weaver told E&P. "I think the editors realize it is a valuable contributor to them."

At local papers, meanwhile, the companywide cutback announced Monday is being felt with varying levels of pain, an approach Weaver contends is the fairest way to handle the economic problems. "There is a huge swing," he said about the implementation. "We have had some departments that haven't had to lay anyone off, and others that are considerable."

Ann Caulkins, publisher and president of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, which announced it would reduced its workforce by 123 positions, or about 11.1%, said that is the fairest approach: "It depends on the local properties and where they are financially," she said. "You have to ask them to make adjustments accordingly."

Most newspaper editors and publishers declined to comment, instead referring to memos or Monday stories about the cutbacks.

In Miami, Herald Publisher David Landsberg broke the news to employees in a memo that stated: "This is a painful but necessary step. We're operating in a time of great change and challenge for our own operations, for The McClatchy Company and for the newspaper industry overall. Increased competition and a pronounced economic downturn have combined to reduce revenues dramatically, and these cuts are part of the way we must respond."

Miami's cuts will mean the loss of 250 full-time positions, or about 17% of the Herald's total workforce. That includes the layoff of approximately 190 full-time and part-time workers and the elimination of other open positions.

"The coming weeks and months will no doubt be a difficult and disorienting time for all of us, those who remain on the job, as well as those who will be leaving," Landsberg added. "I assure you that the public service mission that has always driven us will remain unchanged, as we adapt to today's far more competitive media landscape."

At The Sacramento Bee, a Web story revealed 8.1% of its workforce would go, translating to 86 jobs, 46 through layoffs. …

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