Raleigh ‘News & Observer’ Offers Buyouts to 230 Staffers

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By: Joe Strupp

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., is offering buyouts to 230 of its 900 employees, according to a story in today’s editions. But, the paper stated, only “a small percentage of those people are expected to accept and leave the company.

“In an effort to streamline its operations, The News & Observer Publishing Co. will offer voluntary buyout packages to some employees today,” the paper stated, adding that, “Publisher Orage Quarles III said the decision to trim the company’s staff came following a period of declining revenues and other factors such as the rising cost of newsprint and gas.”

“It’s almost a perfect storm of factors,” he told the newspaper. “We’ve got to get the organization to a size that supports the revenue.”

Eligibility for the buyout is not based on seniority, Quarles said. “Instead, the company looked for positions that could be eliminated using technology, efficiencies or consolidation of jobs.”

“One to two percent of the employees sign up in the places where this has been done in the past, and we expect similar results here,” he added.

Eligible employees will receive packets outlining the buyout program this afternoon, the paper stated. Those who accept the offer will leave the company on May 23. No other specific details about the buyout were released.

The paper added that the News & Observer was not the first McClatchy Co. newspaper to offer employee buyouts, noting that other papers, including the Modesto Bee, The Sacramento Bee and The Miami Herald, have offered them in recent months.

But, Quarles said in the paper, the decision to offer such packages is being made on a paper-by-paper basis.

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