'Star-Ledger' High School Sports Staff Cut By Nearly One-Third

By: Joe Strupp Dorf Feature Service, which has supplied high school sports coverage to The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. for 70 years, is cutting its full-time staff by nearly one-third, owner Sid Dorfman said Friday. He said he has had to buyout nine of his 33 full-time staffers, who cover high school and Division III college sports, as well as paid obituaries, for the paper on a contract basis.

"We have had to retrench because of the situation today in the business," said the 87-year-old Dorfman, who has run the company since it began and writes a weekly column for the Star-Ledger, which he will continue. "Budgets are being lowered."

He would not say how much of a buyout was being provided to those being cut, but said it would include a severance package provided by Advance Publications, as well as continued health benefits.

Officials at Dorf Feature Service were not specific about why the cutbacks were needed, saying only it was a "reduction in income." Star-Ledger Editor Jim Willse and Publisher George Arwady could not immediately be reached for comment.

The cuts are significant for the New Jersey paper, which has long prided itself on local high school sports, which have made up special sections and the paper's annual all-area and all-state team listings.

"We will have to make it go on," Dorfman said. "All of the [Star-Ledger] high school sports comes from us, except for an occasional staff person story. We got a brand new budget and we are under that. We are going to try to cover as best we can." He said the service also serves other New Jersey papers in the Advance Publications chain, such as The Trenton Times and Gloucester County Times.


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