By: Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press Writer
(AP) The Spokesman-Review newspaper will lay off 20 more workers, including 14 in the newsroom.
The announcement Thursday comes on the heels of a July decision to eliminate 20 jobs, when the newspaper thought it had reduced costs enough to get through an economic downturn in the industry, said Shaun O’L. Higgins, director of sales and marketing.
Then came the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
“We had a good August, and then we were hit by Sept. 11, and all media saw incredibly large drop-offs in advertising as a result of that event,” Higgins said.
The biggest loss was in national advertising, which “dried up almost entirely after Sept. 11,” Higgins said.
The newspaper is family owned by Cowles Publishing Co., which also owns KHQ-TV of Spokane, a newsprint mill and extensive downtown property.
The newspaper on Wednesday opened a 10-day period in which employees could volunteer to leave their jobs in exchange for an enhanced severance package, Higgins said.
The standard package of one week pay for every six months of employment, up to a maximum of 38 weeks — plus 18 months of medical insurance coverage — will be offered to anyone who is laid off, Higgins said.
Anyone who volunteers to leave their job in the next 10 days will get 25% more, he said.
Job reductions will be completed by Nov. 30, he said.
The 14 newsroom jobs, coupled with the 11 lost in July, will reduce the news staff to about 136 people. That is still above national averages for a paper with just over 100,000 circulation, Higgins said.