Tribune-Review Papers to Consolidate Jobs in Pittsburgh Office

By: Joe Strupp The Tribune-Review Publishing Co., which owns the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and five other Pennsylvania dailies, will consolidate and relocate most of its management oversight for the papers to its Pittsburgh location, the company announced yesterday. The move is part of a management shake-up that will likely include an unspecified number of job cuts at the Richard Mellon Scaife-owned papers.

"The changes, described to employees in a series of meetings, are designed to help the company operate more efficiently and to enable the newspapers to better serve readers and advertisers," the Pittsburgh paper stated.

The move comes a day after Tom Stewart, editor of the company's flagship Greensburg Tribune-Review since 1997, resigned to pursue a graduate school degree.

Edward H. Harrell, the company's president, said, "this is a change that is for the better, and one that will allow our company to grow and become stronger."

In an interview with E&P, Harrell said he also hopes to draw more combined advertising buys among the company's newspapers through the consolidation effort. "This is being done to create efficiencies to be able to go out and sell as one publication," he said. "From now on, we want to sell the combined ad buy more."

In addition to the Pittsburgh and Greensburg papers, the company also owns the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum, the Leader Times in Kittanning, the Daily Courier in Connellsville, The Valley Independent in Monessen, and the Blairsville Dispatch, a weekly newspaper. All but the Monessen paper are affected by the changes.

Frank L. Craig, editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, has been named editor for all of the company's newspapers, and that Robert Fryer, managing editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, has been named managing editor for those publications, the paper reported.

Scaife, the group's owner, is an outspoken conservative billionaire and well-known Republican party contributor.

Specifically, the chain plans to combine copy desks from the five affected daily newspapers into one location at the office of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In addition, newsroom oversight of all business, sports, national, and international news will be directed from Pittsburgh, the paper reported.

"We will maintain the strengths of each unique community newspaper while combining those strengths and delivering one dynamic, comprehensive, regional news product," Harrell said.

The paper also stated that the "changes most likely will involve a yet-to-be determined number of staff reductions," but offered no other specifics. Tribune-Review Publishing currently has about 1,200 employees, the paper reported.

The company's audited combined circulation is about 200,000 daily and 221,000 on Sundays, the paper reported. The most recent Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report for the six months ending in September 2004 indicated that the Greensburg paper, which includes the Pittsburgh paper's circulation in its reporting, had lost significant Sunday and daily circulation.


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