Oct 2, 2008

Slashing in Spokane

The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington has announced that it will cut as many as 27 newsroom employees (a quarter of its editorial staff), prompting Editor Steven Smith to announce his resignation after six years at the helm.

From the story:

The Spokesman-Review will cut about one-fourth of its editorial staff this month, laying off as many as 27 employees in a move its publisher says is a reaction to economic conditions of the newspaper industry.

Steven A. Smith, who has been the newspaper's editor for more than six years, is resigning as part of the reductions, which he called devastating to the news operation. The newsroom cuts will affect writers, editors, photographers and support staff.


Publisher W. Stacey Cowles said the reductions were "nothing unusual" and a reaction to the economics of the newspaper industry.

The job cuts are part of a plan to save more than $1 million a year. The paper also will shrink in size from 13 inches down to 11.

Earlier this week, Smith criticized MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton's stewardship of the Associated Press and his claim that the AP had become a "whipping boy for an angry bunch of editors who want to blame somebody for their woes." Smith said in response:

Now Mr. Singleton has never shown much interest in maintaining strong local news staffs. He talks about supporting strong local journalism. I've heard him. But the record tells the real story. With the possible exception of the Denver Post, he has gutted newspaper after newspaper, leaving gray shadows, lingering ghosts of once fine, even great news organizations. Of course, in Singleton's world, AP is a bargain. It's far cheaper to fill your papers with AP copy than local reporting.


pissy said...

This is just devastating to that paper. They just cut a bunch of people from the newsroom last November, and now have skeleton crews in their two already slim bureaus. I wonder if they'll even keep the bureaus alive.

I feel truly terrible for those folks.

Where do you turn when you're working at the main news source for a sprawling, somewhat remote region? It's not like Southern California where there are (at least a few) media jobs elsewhere. And imagine the resentment when you've given your all to covering a town you may not even like that much ... and now you've got to move.


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