Sunday, December 7, 2008

Newspapers are feeling the economic pinch, too

Dick Schneider writes:

Last week, the News Journal let go 21 full-time and seven part-time employees. The layoff represents around 8 percent of our work force in all departments: news, circulation, advertising and others. The emotion of the layoff was, and remains deep; these were our colleagues, our friends. It was a bitter day.

And, in truth, there are more cuts to come. Perhaps not in people, although it would be a fool's game to say that with certainty. Rather, the size of your newspaper will be reduced in relationship to our advertising downturn.

In early January, the Monday and Tuesday editions of the News Journal will have just two sections. Mondays and Tuesdays are the lowest advertising days of the week, and among the lowest readership days. We also face a nearly 20 percent increase in the cost of newsprint at a time when our revenues are down and other costs, such as employee health care, are climbing.

The issue of what to do about the Monday and Tuesday newspapers is not unique to the PNJ: The News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn., has started a "quick read'' Monday edition. Many editors have called us for our two-section plans and prototypes.

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