Saturday, December 6, 2008

Des Moines Register changes extend beyond job cuts

The 56 job cuts announced Wednesday are not the only changes taking place at “The Newspaper Iowa Depends Upon.”

The Des Moines Register will eliminate several annual special sections, most notably the RAGBRAI preview and RAGBRAI campground editions. This also includes most sports special sections, with one exception being the Iowa-Iowa State football game.

The paper will also cease publishing its Clive community paper. The other nine community papers will continue to be published as usual.

Several special publications produced by the Register will be affected, with “Mind and Body” being eliminated and “Des Moines Women” and “Baby Magazine” reduced to a quarterly publication schedule.

The Register’s entertainment guide, “Datebook,” will be smaller.

At meeting with newsroom staff Thursday, Register Editor Carolyn Washburn said Gannett Co., which owns the paper, hired an economist to look at the coming year and help plan the company’s next move. Based on that economist’s worst-case scenario, Gannett formulated the 10 percent payroll cut announced in October.

Asked by one staffer if there would be more layoffs, Washburn said that if 2009 turned out worse than the economist’s worst-case scenario there will be more layoffs.


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