‘Staten Island Advance’ Buyout Seeks 40 Takers

By: Joe Strupp

The Staten Island (N.Y.) Advance is offering a buyout to all full-time, non-represented employees as the paper seeks 40 volunteers to avoid layoffs, according to a letter from Publisher Caroline Diamond Harrison issued to staffers Wednesday.

The offer includes two weeks’ pay for every year of service up to six months of salary, along with medical coverage. It adds that if 40 people do not take the offer, layoffs could follow.

“As you are all aware, the newspaper industry is in a time of economic crisis,” the letter states, later adding “our financial situation remains critical … and will require additional measures, including further staff reductions before the end of the year.”

Those considering the buyout offer must advise management by Dec. 21, and all buyouts must be approved my management. The Advance also plans to continue the two-week unpaid furloughs in 2010 that were instituted this year.

The newspaper has been hit by industry troubles as much as any daily, with its daily circulation dropping to 45,698 in the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX Report for the six months ending Sept. 30, 2009 — compared with 53,103 for the same period a year earlier.

Harrison’s letter states that the furloughs and other benefit reductions put in place this year resulted in the paper remaining 11.4% under budget through the end of September.

“After considerable analysis and study, we believe these measures will allow us to reduce costs and place us on the road to getting financial improvements we need to continue servicing our readers and advertisers,” the letter added.

The Advance is part of Advance Publications, which owns The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

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