‘Orlando Sentinel’ Finally Reports Cuts to Readers

By: Joe Strupp

Nearly a month after it first informed employees that the paper would undergo a 20% newsroom staff cut, the Orlando Sentinel finally told readers in a story posted on its Web late Tuesday.

The story reported that 52 newsroom jobs were cut during July out of about 250 editorial employees.

“In a memo to the staff, [Editor Charlotte] Hall and Managing Editor Mark Russell said 52 newsroom jobs were eliminated in July. ‘They are talented journalists and represent decades of service to Sentinel readers. We are sorry to see them go, and we wish them well,’ Hall and Russell said in their e-mail.”

E&P first reported two weeks ago that the cuts were occurring through a combination of layoffs and voluntary retirements, with severance of two weeks’ pay for every year of service provided to the exiting workers.

Sentinel officials at the time said they did not want to report the cutbacks until they were completed, a change from the practice of most newspapers, including fellow Tribune Co. properties such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, which have been making significant cutbacks this year.

Asked two weeks ago why the Sentinel had not publicly revealed the job cut plans to readers prior to making them, as most papers do, Sentinel Publisher Howard Greenberg said: “We chose to do it the way we did.”

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