Hartford Courant Cutting About 100 Jobs, Mostly By Layoffs
February 26, 2009
The Courant is eliminating about 100 jobs this week, mostly by layoffs, as the longtime slide in advertising revenue gains speed in 2009.
The cuts include about 30 writing, editing and news support positions, bringing the news staff to 135, down from 235 at the start of 2008. With the layoffs, the newspaper will no longer have a reporter assigned to Washington, D.C.
Most employees affected are being notified this week, said Stephen D. Carver, publisher and chief executive officer. The layoffs are mostly at The Courant, but some are at subsidiaries New Mass Media, which comprises the chain of Advocate weeklies, and Valu Mail, the direct-mail business owned by The Courant.
Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns The Courant, is operating under bankruptcy protection as a result of the media company's $13 billion debt, most of which Tribune took on late in 2007 when it became a private business. Tribune had a series of layoffs in 2008, but the current round of cuts at The Courant was forced by local business conditions, Carver said, rather than the bankruptcy.
The job cuts will leave The Courant with about 685 employees.
Tribune Co. announced a wage freeze to employees earlier this month. Wage freezes and layoffs are hitting the newspaper industry hard nationwide in 2009 as retailers, auto dealers, financial services firms and other traditional advertisers slash their media budgets.
News space in The Courant, which was cut by 25 percent last summer in a redesign, will remain as it is, Carver said. The Courant will still be the largest news organization covering Connecticut.
"I wanted to get us into an environment where we could focus on our readers and advertisers going forward, and focus on growing the business," Carver said. "We're going to perform at the level we've been performing."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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