So far, at the Chicago Tribune, there have been layoffs at the end of March and the beginning of August. Last year there were layoffs at the end of June. The outlook: probably more layoffs coming, and soon.
The reason, the circulation declines at the newspaper are continuing, with Editor & Publisher, noting in its reports a drop in Chicago Tribune circulation, based on the ABC September FAS-FAX report, of more than five percent loss on Sunday and more than seven percent loss weekdays. In contrast, the average circulation decline for a newspaper in the period, according to E&P was 4.6 percent Sunday and 4.8 percent daily. The Chicago Sun-Times, itself on the ropes as it draws on the last of its cash reserves, fell less than four percent daily. It is not rated among the top 25 national newspapers for Sunday circulation.
In addition to the circulation declines, there is the deteriorating situation in advertising revenue, especially in classifieds, but also in real estate, autos and employment.
In response, the Los Angeles Times, within the last ten days, let go 75 editorial staffers, plus 31 circulation staffers. There were probably even more people that are sadly not even given the value of a note by the media. Only a memo from the VP of Circ brought the job loss in circulation to the attention of the media after it was leaked to LA Observed (an earlier post had said it was leaked to Romenesko).
Politico’s Michael Calderone meanwhile is expecting the Washington, D.C. bureau of the Tribune Co. to lose additional staffers, mostly editorial, following the election. The bureau will shrink to just 30 persons, according to reports in Media Bistro.
Every job cutback is followed by promises by the gurus leading the Tribune Co., that this should be the final cutback. (The last by saying the company is structured for 2010. What will it be structured for following the next round?) If you’re part of these cutbacks, you know that the period immediately following the bloodletting is followed by instability as people attempt to take on new roles. And, the organizational effect has to be devastating. I doubt people really understand, yet, all the responsibilities of the people who left in April, not even discussing the people who were forced out in August.