Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Clarion-Ledger' to Cut 5% of Staff

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

'Clarion-Ledger' to Cut 5% of Staff

Article excerpt

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., has to eliminate 20 positions, Publisher Larry Whitaker wrote to staff in a memo posted on Romenseko. Whitaker cites the slowdown in print AND online advertising as the reason for the move.

"While you might have read about staff reductions at other newspapers, we have, up to this point, made tough business decisions to avoid having to take those actions here," wrote Whitaker. "I regret to inform you that we can no longer keep our name off the growing list of newspapers that have reduced staff or are in the process of doing so. The unstable market, higher fuel costs, big spikes in newsprint costs, and a challenging advertising climate have made that impossible."

The cut amounts to 5% of the workforce of the Gannett-owned newspaper. The memo did not address which positions are affected or if those employees will receive severance.

The memo from Whitaker follows:

August 1, 2008

To: Employees of The Clarion-Ledger

From: Larry Whitaker, President and Publisher

The economic downturn affecting much of the country is taking a heavy toll on the local economy. To be direct, it will lead to significant changes in the way we do business at The Clarion-Ledger. In nearly every advertising segment, our customers are reporting difficult times for their businesses. They are cutting back on print and online advertising, which has a direct impact on our business. These economic forces, which are out of our control, make it necessary for us to reduce our workforce.

You've seen the result of the economic downturn in your personal finances -- higher gas prices, double-digit energy bill increases and steeper prices at the grocery store. Those changes have forced many of you to make changes in your household spending. We're facing a similar situation at The Clarion-Ledger. We have to reduce our spending to the current size of our business.

While you might have read about staff reductions at other newspapers, we have, up to this point, made tough business decisions to avoid having to take those actions here. I regret to inform you that we can no longer keep our name off the growing list of newspapers that have reduced staff or are in the process of doing so. The unstable market, higher fuel costs, big spikes in newsprint costs, and a challenging advertising climate have made that impossible.

I'm sure you're wondering how you will be affected by the changes that I referenced earlier. For several weeks we have frozen almost all open positions in an effort to reduce payroll costs. …

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