‘Merc’ Announces Layoffs — As ‘Indy Star’ Offers Buyouts

By: Joe Strupp

The San Jose Mercury News announced today it had laid off 31 newsroom employees, adding to the 15 already leaving through voluntary buyouts earlier this year.

At the Indianapolis Star, meanwhile, editors launched a buyout program that seeks to eliminate some 20 jobs throughout the paper, but plans to create another 45 jobs in a new regional photo-toning center.

“It’s very hard to see this many talented people leave the staff in this way,” Mercury News Executive Editor Carole Leigh Hutton said in a story on the paper’s Web site Tuesday. “Layoffs are painful, no matter how necessary.

“But there are still more than 200 dedicated journalists in this newsroom, and it’s our opportunity now to guide this newspaper into the future.”

The paper blamed much of the economic cutback on “the bursting of the dot-com bubble” and its effect on classified advertising. It also noted that revenue had declined 36% since 2000 at the Mercury News.

Sylvia Ulloa, president of the local Newspaper Guild, told the paper that many of the layoffs affected guild members. “This pain should have been shared by everybody in the newsroom, not just the rank-and-file members,” she said.

In Indianapolis, meanwhile, the Star stated the new “toning” operation “will prepare electronic images for print production at multiple Gannett Co. locations.” The paper expected the buyouts and new jobs to be completed by mid-August.

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