Monday, March 9, 2009

More Layoffs Announced at Kansas City Star

Another note in our continuous coverage of the changing paradigm of the news media....this time it is the hometown paper of Bernays Sauce, The Kansas City Star.

The Kansas City Star expects to cut its workforce by another 15 percent, or about 150 positions, publisher Mark Zieman told employees in a memo this morning.

The cuts are in line with overall reductions at The Star’s parent company, The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, Calif., which announced plans today to reduce its overall workforce by the same percentage, or 1,600 full-time equivalent employees.

McClatchy, which owns 30 daily newspapers, said that the reductions will begin by the end of this month and that it expects to incur $30 million in severance costs.

“We have been transitioning steadily from a traditional newspaper company to a hybrid print and online, news and advertising company for some time,” McClatchy Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in McClatchy’s announcement. “The effects of the current national economic downturn make it essential that we move even faster to realign our workforce and make our operations even more efficient.

“We previously discussed a plan to reach a targeted level of cost savings, but given the worsening economy, we must do more. I’m sorry we have to take these actions, but we believe they are necessary.”


“Like all other companies and industries, we are making dramatic changes to survive this recession and come out safe and profitable on the other side,” he wrote.

The Sauce
Unfortunately, this is not the first layoff the Star has announced in the past year. You'll note that Star parent company McClatchy is seeking a way to make money as both a print and online concern--or "hybrid" as they call it. That's probably the best transitional strategy a news organization can make at this point, but it still remains to be seen how online content can be monetized enough to support adequate newsgathering efforts.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

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