The Seattle Times Co. Cuts 10% Of Work Force

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By: Joe Strupp

The Seattle Times Co. is cutting 130 to 150 staff positions through a combination of buyouts and layoffs, The Seattle Times reported Monday.

The reduction is about 10% of the paper’s work force and is occurring seven months after a similar round of cutbacks, the paper added.

“In a memo to staff, Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen and President Carolyn Kelly blamed the moves on industry changes and the worldwide financial crisis,” a story said. “They said the company needs to adjust to structural changes that have reduced advertising revenue in all media. Even the growth of online revenue ? previously a bright spot for the company ? has stalled during the worldwide economic slowdown.”

The story also hinted more cutbacks might be coming, quoting the memo as saying: “As the 2009 budgeting process continues, there will be additional expense reductions, which may include additional layoffs.”

“As difficult as these operating decisions are, it is important to remember we have been here for 112 years, weathering many ups and downs, and these budget actions are necessary to respond to the current economic conditions and to position our newspaper and online operations for many more years of success and community service,” Blethen and Kelly added.

The memo did not specify other ways in which the company intended to reduce expenses. In an e-mail, Times spokeswoman Corey Digiacinto said the company won’t be able to confirm any specifics until individual departments have been notified, the story said.

The paper also noted that the Times “saw average weekday circulation decline 7.7 percent to about 199,000, while [JOA partner] the Seattle Post-Intelligencer dropped 7.8 percent to about 118,000. The circulation for the Sunday paper ? which bears both the Times and P-I mastheads ? fell 9.1 percent to 382,000, the bureau reported.”

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