There is no sign of a recovery for the newspaper business as publishers face continuing declines in print ad revenue, which probably translates into more layoffs in 2011. One of the nation's leading newspaper publishers, McClatchy Co., has quietly eliminated several hundred positions, with a first round of layoffs in February followed by even deeper cuts this month.
This week brought news of more layoffs at The Sacramento Bee, which said it is eliminating 44 jobs -- or about 6% of its work force of 733, including nine jobs in the newsroom -- over the next two weeks. Coming not long after the paper eliminated 32 jobs in February, these cuts bring the total number of jobs eliminated at The Bee to 400 over the last three years.
Two weeks ago, McClatchy's Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced plans to cut 45 positions, partly by leaving several unfilled positions vacant, across the newspaper's newsroom, business, and distribution divisions. The Star-Telegram cut about 25 positions in February through a combination of layoffs and attrition.
On May 10, the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, also owned by McClatchy, said it will cut 15 positions -- including four that are currently vacant -- also spread across the newspaper's various divisions. Again, that's equal to about 6% of the newspaper's full-time staff of 243 employees. In June 2008, the newspaper employed 370 people, meaning it has shed about 38% of its workforce in three years.
Over the last few months, McClatchy Co. also laid off about 50 employees at three other newspapers, including two dozen at the Kansas City Star, 20 at the Raleigh News & Observer and 15 at The Miami Herald. Thirty-five vacant positions at The Miami Herald are also being left unfilled, for total cuts of about 85 positions.
While most newspaper publishers are still suffering revenue declines, McClatchy had a particularly rough first quarter, with total revenues down 9.5% to $304 million and ad revenues down 11% to $225 million compared to the same period in 2010.