'Orlando Sentinel' Publisher Acknowledges Newsroom Cuts

By Strupp, Joe | Editor & Publisher, July 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

'Orlando Sentinel' Publisher Acknowledges Newsroom Cuts


Strupp, Joe, Editor & Publisher


Orlando Sentinel Publisher Howard Greenberg acknowledged that the newspaper is cutting 20% of the newsroom, contradicting a newspaper spokesperson's earlier comment that no cuts were planned.

"We have announced a reduction in force to our newsroom staff in Orlando," Greenberg told E&P Friday. Employees, he added, "have been told about the reduction in force."

Greenberg's comments followed E&P's report Thursday that 20% of the 250-plus newsroom would lose jobs by the end of July, with about 20 being informed this week of the cuts. The reduction includes both layoffs and voluntary departures and a severance package of two weeks' pay for each year of service.

On Thursday, Editor Charlotte Hall declined to comment about the cuts, refering calls to Lisa Jacobsen, a human resources and marketing spokesperson. She told E&P that no cuts were planned "at this time."

Greenberg said that there was a miscommunication and that E&P should have been told that no cuts beyond the 20% in the newsroom were planned. He said the staff had been told about the cutbacks, but not each individual.

"We are in the middle of the process," said Greenberg, who is also publisher of the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He added that not all employees who are being terminated have been notified. "What Lisa should have said is that we have no further reductions planned beyond that."

Numerous staffers had objected to the paper's lack of public disclosure about the cuts.

Asked why the Sentinel, a Tribune Co. paper, had not publicly revealed the job cut plans to readers prior to making them, as most papers do, Greenberg said: "We chose to do it the way we did. Unfortunately, there was a mistake."

The publisher said that the paper would publicly report the cutbacks at the end of July when they are completed. He also said that cuts in other departments would occur, but had no specifics.

Hall and Managing Editor Mark Russell, meanwhile, issued a memo to staffers Friday following E&P's story that detailed the cutbacks. …

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