Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Miami Herald Lays Off 175 People, Eliminates 30 Additional Positions

The Miami Herald is the latest major newspaper in the United States to make drastic cuts in its personnel, giving about 175 employees pink slips today. Thirty more vacant positions will be eliminated. That figure represents about 19 percent of its workforce.

Staff got the news via email.

''About 175 employees will lose their jobs as a result, and we will eliminate another 30 vacant positions, for a total reduction of 205. Reductions will occur in all areas of our operation and at every level in the organization,'' publisher David Landsberg said in an e-mail to employees this morning.

Here's a report from John Dorschner of the Herald writing about his colleagues losing their jobs:

Remaining full-time employees earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year will have their pay reduced 5 percent. For employees earning more than $50,000, the pay cut will be 10 percent.

Employees will also lose one week of pay this year through an unpaid furlough program.

As part of the cost cutting, The Miami Herald's presses will be converted to a 44-inch web format and the International Edition will cease publication.

Many of the jobs will happen through involuntary layoffs, but some employees will be offered the chance to voluntarily take severance packages. ''If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, then the work groups will be reduced either by function or according to least tenure, depending on the work group,'' Landsberg wrote.

McClatchy previously announced it would trim its national workforce by 1,600. They are more than halfway to their goal, as at least 806 positions have been cut recently by the chain.

Already the Kansas City Star said it would let go about 150 people, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said it would let go 130 people; and the Sacramento Bee said it would cut 128 people.

Other McClatchy trims in payroll include:
* The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., which has laid off 20 employees and reduced wages 9.1 percent, effective May 4. An additional 58 were lost when it moving printing operations.
* Fresno (Calif.) Bee, 63 people.
* The Modesto (Calif.) Bee, 40 people, including the 11 announced on March 10.
* State Media Co., of South Carolina, eliminated 38 people.
* Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, 20 people.
* The Beaufort (S.C.) Gazette and The Island Packet in Hilton Head, S.C., let 17 people go.
* The Wichita Eagle cut 14 people.
* The Sun-Star, Los Banos Enterprise and Chowchilla News in California released 10 people.
* The Tribune of San Luis Obispo, Calif., will lay off seven people.
* The Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald will lay off six people.

The chain also runs The Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News & Observer.

UPDATE, 4:04 p.m. Eastern: A reader notes that there is a McClatchy blog ( that is on top of these layoffs and more. Thanks Kevin!

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