Newsday Cuts 45 Jobs; Scales Back Coverage of New York City

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By: Jennifer Saba

Newsday announced this afternoon it’s offering 45 buyout packages to editorial staff as the paper reorganizes.

The Melville, N.Y. paper is drastically pulling back its coverage of New York City and plans to concentrate its resources on Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens, according to a memo delivered to Newsday staff from Editor John Mancini.

“The decision to reduce our city staff was wrenching,” Mancini wrote in the memo. “But the cold, hard truth is that we can no longer support the investment necessary to cover the city as ambitiously as we do today.?

Mancini was appointed editor of Newsday in November 2004. Prior to that for three years he was responsible for the New York City edition.

?This is all the more painful in light of how the New York staff has outperformed rivals whose only superiority has been numerical. From the terrible events of Sept. 11 through last summer’s GOP convention and beyond, the city desk has provided an insightful metro report day in and day out,? he wrote.

A call to Newsday made this afternoon was not immediately returned.

Though the buyout affects mostly those involved in the city section, it will also be offered to those with corresponding job categories in Melville. The current cuts are in addition to the 170 jobs eliminated last year.

In a similar memo addressed to Newsday employees, Publisher Tim Knight said the change in course ?is the best way to serve the interests of all our readers and advertisers.?

Newsday has been mired in problems ever since the paper announced it misstated circulation by about 100,000 copies in June 2004. In the wake of the scandal, the paper’s parent company, Tribune, set aside $90 million to compensate advertisers; several former Newsday employees have been charged with mail fraud by federal authorities.

Newsday has been a drag on Tribune’s advertising results. Merrill Lynch reported that July ad revenue for the company grew 1.5%. Excluding Newsday, ad revenue is up 2.7%.

About ten years ago the paper shuttered New York Newsday, a separate edition for the city.

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