Washington Paper Cutting 20% of Newsroom, Citing Online Drive

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The Kitsap Sun newspaper is cutting nine full-time positions from its newsroom, a reduction of about 20 percent, as readers and advertisers continue to move to online news sources.

The phased-in reductions will start in January, with severance offers for staff and managers who voluntarily resign, Publisher Mike Levi said in a report Monday evening on the paper’s Web site.

“Our hope is that involuntary reductions will not be necessary,” Levi said.

The newspaper said its circulation has held generally steady over the past two years, but has seen traditional revenue sources such as classified advertising move to the Web.

The Sun reported average circulation of 29,302 daily and 32,866 on Sunday, according to its Sept. 30 report to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The Sun said its Web site has more than doubled its readership in the past 16 months to more than 130,000 unique visitors per month.

The site had about 1.4 million page views in November, an increase of more than 70 percent in 16 months, Levi said.

“Our readers and advertisers are migrating from print newspapers to our online editions, and we are evolving with them,” Levi said. “But as we do, we must take steps to control our costs while we develop a new economic model that can continue our profitability.”

The Sun’s newsroom workers were notified two weeks ago of possible staff reductions, and were told of the plan’s specifics in a meeting with Editor Scott Ware, the newspaper said.

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