Chicago Tribune Offers Staff Buyouts

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CHICAGO, Jan. 16 (UPI) — Chicago Tribune management says editorial staff members will be offered voluntary severance packages in an operating cost-trimming move.

“We begin the year with a need to reduce costs as we face the continued financial pressures from a weak economy and structural changes in our industry,” Senior Vice President Gerry Kern said in a memo to the editorial staff.

“We are committed to taking action quickly, thoughtfully and fairly.”

The severance option was not open to senior management, the Tribune reported Monday.

Undisclosed was the number of voluntary separations the company would accept. However, if the firm did not meet its minimum on cutting costs, layoffs could be next. “Other actions may be required,” the memo said.

Staff members were offered two weeks of pay for their first year with the company and one additional week’s pay for every year they’ve been with the company after the first.

The Tribune, which publishes the Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and others, has been operating under bankruptcy protection since December 2008.

The business has struggled, as many newspapers have, with the transition to the digital age, which has cost newspapers in readership and advertising revenue.

“This work will continue,” Kern said. “Over time, some people will leave our organization while others will join it as we acquire the skills needed for the future.”

 

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