Jan 17, 2009

No deal yet for Union-Tribune, layoffs likely

As Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed observes, Copley's failure to sell the San Diego Union-Tribune and poor ad sales have already put employees in a bind. The Pulitzer-prize winning paper has suspended merit raises, cut health benefits and ended 401k matches. Now Copley CEO Gene Bell warns of another round of layoffs:
We must make even more dramatic changes in our cost structure that, unfortunately, must soon include a reduction in force. We are working through the details of staff reductions thoughtfully with a focus on protecting the quality of the products our readers and advertising customers expect.
It's a buyers market out there for anyone looking to snap up a struggling newspaper. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be anyone out there looking to buy a struggling newspaper. The Rocky Mountain News, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have all been put up for sale in recent weeks. The two advantages the U-T has over the others is that San Diego is a one-newspaper town and the owner hasn't been crippled by bad debt.

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