Friday, March 13, 2009

Departures bring us closer to a new era in newspapers

Fred Zipp writes:

We're struggling with our emotions here at the American-Statesman as colleagues take advantage of an early retirement offer to put extra money in the bank and move on.

Recession has inflicted wounds on newspapers just as it has on other businesses. As ad spending declines, so must costs. The buyout will allow the newspaper to shrink to a size better suited to tougher times while rewarding our most senior employees — a better alternative than the forced layoffs that have become all too common in today's economy.

Across the company, 71 people are retiring, and their average service to the Statesman is 24 years. Reporter Bob Banta from the newsroom leaves with the most tenure at 44 years.

In the newsroom, 12 people took the buyout. Laylan Copelin started the sad parade, as befits a reporter who made a career of being first. Ben Sargent, the Pulitzer Price-winning cartoonist, left Friday. So did his wife, TV critic Diane Holloway.

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