McClatchy: Staff Layoffs At 'Sacramento Bee,' 'Charlotte Observer'


The economy may be entering a tentative recovery, but the newspaper industry isn't joining in, judging by continued revenue declines -- and now more layoffs. McClatchy Co. will cut 52 more positions, with 32 cuts falling on the Sacramento Bee and 20 at the Charlotte Observer. The Sacramento Bee will first offer buyouts, according to publisher Cheryl Dell, and will only resort to layoffs if these are insufficient.  

Before the planned layoffs, the Sacramento Bee employed about 870 people; 32 layoffs represent a 3.7% cut, and will include nine newsroom positions. The Charlotte Observer employed 530 people, so 20 layoffs represent a 3.7% cut; five cuts will come in the Observer's newsroom staff of 150.

In announcing the layoffs, the Charlotte Observer publisher Ann Caulkins told employees that the company was "living quarter by quarter with our budgets," according to the newspaper's own report. The same article quoted Observer editor Rick Thames as saying the newspaper still is not sure how many employees it can sustain.



For its part, the Sacramento Bee reported that the latest round of cuts brings the three-year total to 360, or 30% of the newspaper's roughly 1,200 employees in 2008. Dell told the Modesto Bee that "our revenue performance looks a lot like other area businesses. The recovery hasn't manifested itself in the way we expected it to in the region."

Altogether, McClatchy has eliminated about 6,150 jobs since 2006, when it acquired Knight-Ridder for $4.5 billion. Over that period, the total number of full-time employees has declined from 16,791 in December 2006 to about 8,500 today -- a 49.4% decrease.

The news of the cuts came as McClatchy revealed that it will not be proceeding with a potentially lucrative real-estate deal -- the planned sale of a 10-acre parcel adjacent to the offices of the Miami Herald. However, the company will receive a $7 million termination fee, on top of $16.5 million in non-refundable deposits for the deal, which would have brought about $115 million after taxes, had it actually closed.

Next story loading loading..