‘Baltimore Sun’ Byline Strike Protests Recent Layoffs

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By: Joe Strupp

A week after The Baltimore Sun slashed 60 newsroom jobs, including 18 top editing positions, some 50 newsroom staffers still at the paper have launched a one-day byline strike, according to the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.

A guild release says the strikers include “reporters, photographers and other bylined content producers,” who are “protesting layoffs and heavy-handed tactics by owner Tribune Co.”

The staff members told managers today that they would withhold their bylines to protest last week’s layoffs that reduced the staff to 148 employees, “a fraction of what it was in 1999 when the Chicago-based company acquired The Sun, which then boasted a newsroom staff of about 420 employees.”

The release noted that some employees last week were fired while they were in the midst of writing and editing stories, including four who were covering a Baltimore Orioles game.

“Tribune’s tactics are deplorable,” Cet Parks, executive director of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, said in a statement. “Employees who poured their hearts and souls into putting out a great newspaper every day were told to get out and stay out. No fanfare, no thank you, no outplacement help, just hit the streets. Maybe that’s big business the Tribune way, but it isn’t right. Through its actions Tribune has demonstrated that it has little regard or respect for its employees.”

“These decisions were made without any discussions on alternative costs saving methods,” added Brent Jones, a Sun editor and Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild representative. “We wanted to do something to show our former co-workers that we’re upset with how they were treated last week. We produce this paper and expect our voices to be heard.”

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