Magazine article Editor & Publisher

McClatchy D.C. Bureau (Somehow) Avoids Layoffs and Buyouts

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

McClatchy D.C. Bureau (Somehow) Avoids Layoffs and Buyouts

Article excerpt

While McClatchy newspapers nationwide are suffering the company's second massive job reduction in three months, the chain's highly-praised Washington bureau has again survived the cutbacks without any layoffs or buyouts.

But that does not mean the D.C. bureau did not lose people, according to Bureau Chief John Walcott, who says the luck of attrition helped make the cuts less painful.

"It's easier as a manager to have people leave for their own reasons than to fire people," says Walcott. "But do we have as many people as we had two years ago? No. We have had a fair amount of attrition and that has taken care of it."

Some of the editors and publishers at the chain's 30 daily papers, meanwhile, say the latest round of cuts is not easy, but vow to push forward with the best journalism possible. "We are focused on doing the best we can," says Publisher Timothy Kelly of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, which laid-off 22 employees, including nine in the newsroom. "It is just a very difficult day."

The reactions follow McClatchy's Tuesday revelation that it would cut 1,150 jobs companywide. That announcement followed a previous June decision to lop off 1,400 workers.

Walcott in D.C. says his newsroom missed the buyouts and layoffs, but still lost a handful of staff. While the bureau has 10 editors, it does not have a Washington Editor, the top newsroom post that was eliminated following the departure of David Westphal, who left in the spring to take a job at the University of Southern California.

"We are the only [McClatchy] place where the top guy has left and not been replaced," Walcott says.

In addition, the national reporting staff -- now at 14 -- lost two reporters in the past year, while the regional reporting staff will drop to 11 when David Montgomery returns to McClatchy's Fort Worth Star-Telegram. …

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