AP Cuts Technical Staff

By: Lucia Moses

The Associated Press this week laid off about 40 managers in the services and technology division as part of an ongoing restructuring at the news cooperative.

John Reid, director of services and technology, wrote in an Oct. 20 e-mail to staff that the AP required fewer technical employees because equipment improvements and media-ownership consolidation had reduced demand for equipment repairs and installations, said Karl Jendretzky, president of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America, which represents employees in that division.

The jobs affected were spread across the United States, said Jendretzky, a technician based in Columbus, Ohio. The AP employs 3,700 people worldwide.

The division has been scaled back over the years, largely due to computer automation. Employment in the division now numbers less than 400, down from a peak of about 800 in the early 1970s, Jendretzky said.

An AP spokesman reached Wednesday wouldn’t confirm the number of people laid off, saying the organization was still in the process of telling its staff about the cuts. He did say the AP was reducing staff through attrition, buyouts, and as a last resort, layoffs, driven by changing business priorities.

The cuts come as the AP’s recently named president and CEO, Tom Curley, seeks to transform the AP from a wire service to an interactive database. Among Curley’s plans: making journalists more productive, expanding the AP’s revenue from the Internet, and offering member papers tools to customize AP products.

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