By: Joe Strupp
The Star-Tribune in Minneapolis revealed it would cut 145 positions companywide, a 7% cutback, with about 50 jobs lost in the newsroom.
In a story posted shortly after a 3 p.m. meeting with staffers, in which Publisher Par Ridder revealed the plan, the paper stated most cuts would come through voluntary buyouts, adding that “reducing costs is necessary to adjust to a rapidly changing media environment.”
“Revenue has been declining since 2004 and we need to respond to that reality,” Ridder said in a prepared statement, according to the story. “The newspaper business model has changed and this restructuring will allow us to align more resources with what readers and advertisers are demanding from us. Through this process we will be increasing resources focused on local content and advertising products, in both print and online.”
The publisher, who had led the rival St. Paul Pioneer Press and took over the Star Tribune after it was sold to investors Avista Capital Partners, stressed that the paper’s cutbacks are being duplicated throughout the industry.
“The buyout and layoff program is just one of many efforts being made by the Star Tribune to reduce expenses throughout the business,” the paper stated in its story. “Those efforts also include streamlining work processes, not filling open positions and reviewing contracts with outside vendors. The planned job reductions at the Star Tribune, which employs about 2,100 people, will reduce the total labor force by 7 percent and will affect all parts of the company, including the newsroom.”
Editor Nancy Barnes added that she also plans to restructure the newsroom and will operate with about 50 fewer employees in the current 375-person news and editorial operation.
“This is difficult, but we join many newsrooms in having to restructure for changing times,” Barnes said in a statement. “We will continue to deliver a deep, rich state and local news report every day, whether readers want to get that online or in print. In fact, in the restructuring, we’ll be shifting more reporters to local news, in-depth news, and online information gathering than we had before these staff reductions. And we will still have by far the largest news gathering operation in the Upper Midwest region.”
The paper predicted that two-thirds of the cuts would come from the voluntary buyout plan.