Newsprint hikes adversely impact newsroom workers p. 11

By: Editorial Staff NEWSROOM EMPLOYEES AT the Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., will take two-week unpaid leaves to keep the daily from laying off 14 people, or 10% of the staff. The paper blamed the action on soaring newsprint prices and a decline in advertising linage.
Editor William Ketter said management presented union representatives with a list of people who would lose their jobs if the 150 full-time newsroom workers did not agree to the two-week furlough.
Ketter said employees from every other department of Patriot Ledger parent Prescott Publishing agreed to take one week of unpaid leave before the end of this year and another week by the end of next June.
The Bakersfield Californian, citing newsprint increases and a sluggish local economy, announced plans to reduce its work force by 14% by mid-November through a voluntary buyout plan. As many as 60 full-time positions could go.
CEO Mike Fisch said if voluntary buyouts didn't generate enough interest, the company would resort to layoffs.
"Our cost for newsprint has nearly doubled this year," he said. "Unfortunately, we have no option but to use newsprint, so we need to look at other ways of reducing overhead. Since payroll represents nearly 68% of our costs, it is an area we must consider."
And in Ohio, the Dayton Daily News is planning cost reductions that could include layoffs.
"We are going to be cutting costs, and that includes payroll costs," said publisher Brad Tillson. "We're looking at the mix of eliminating positions versus people." Tillson couldn't say how many jobs would be eliminated.


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