Secrets of the Job Hunt


Monday, July 28, 2008

Baltimore Newspaper Losing Jobs

Between competition from 24 hour TV news channels and the Internet, newspapers are no longer the go-to source for the latest information. In a world where readers and viewers expect their facts to up-to-the-minute fresh, even dailies are struggling.

To battle this, newspapers have become increasingly syndicated, distributing the same national news nationwide. Many have experimented with raising the ad-story ratio in hopes of making up for the profits lost due to declining subscriptions. Still, with fewer readers every year, it’s no surprise that The Baltimore Sun has felt the need to do away with around 100 job postings.

Of the Baltimore jobs that were done away with, 55 were in the newsroom, according to union leaders. Tanika White, a unit co-chair with the Baltimore-Washington Newspaper Guild, says that 43 newsroom employees accepted buyouts and another two reporters were laid of voluntarily.

Prior to this round of job cuts, The Sun had approximately 280 employees working in the newsroom. Judy Berman, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, did not give an exact total of the positions that were done away with, but said that the company met its goal for decreasing the workforce by about 100 with a minimum of layoffs.

The Sun, which has been in circulation for 171 years, is owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co. Tribune’s Baltimore newsroom isn’t the only one to see a decrease in staff. As subscriptions and ad revenues both decline, the company has seen fit to do away with many jobs at a good number of its daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. In addition to the troubles brought on by a lose of readers, Tribune incurred a substantial debt when Sam Zell took the company private back in December as part of an $8.2 billion buyout.

In hopes of delaying what maybe the inevitable death of the newspaper, The Sun, along with other Tribune owned papers, have a plan for what they call an “aggressive redesign.” Company officials say there will be a focus on more local news, consumer information, watchdog coverage and better graphics.

This is the third significant cut in jobs in Baltimore, Maryland at the Sun in two years. Staff reductions also occurred in March and June of 2007. The number of union-represented employees is now approximately half of what it was in 2000.

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