‘St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Buyout Draws 14 Takers, 10 In The Newsroom

By: Joe Strupp

Fourteen employees of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, including 10 newsroom staffers, have taken a buyout offer, the second such staff cut in eight months, the paper reported today.

The Pioneer Press let 29 employees go in a similar buyout last December, which included 22 newsroom employees. The paper also reported laying off two part-time workers in the library and cutting “an unspecified number of open jobs.”

“I said at the beginning of this process that we were hoping to be able to take at least 15 buyouts [in the newsroom.] We are not. But this combination of buyouts and other changes should allow us to meet our immediate and critical need to respond to the changing business conditions we face,” Editor Thom Fladung wrote in an e-mail to the staff, the paper reported.

Among the newsroom staff leaving are: Mary Bauer, reporter; Diana Boger, designer; Craig Borck, photographer; Beth Gauper, reporter; Sheryl Jean, reporter; Matt Peiken, reporter; Joe Rossi, photographer; Kathy Rysgaard, researcher; Jeff Sjerven, copy editor; and Ellen Tomson, reporter.

The paper had received some Newspaper Guild criticism when the buyout was announced last week for giving staffers only seven days to decide. The paper said most of the takers will leave their jobs by Friday.

In a separate statement, the company added, “The buyouts, along with attrition and decisions not to fill currently open positions, are expected to minimize the need for layoffs. The newspaper is continuing to assess next steps, which will be determined, in part, by contract negotiations — under way with the Newspaper Guild — to secure the flexibility the company needs to remain competitive.”

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