Chicago Trib to Make Broader Cuts

More Chicago Tribune journalists will be axed by Friday, according to a media report late Wednesday.

The report by Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Lorene Yue that more than a dozen newsroom employees had been told their jobs were being eliminated could not be immediately confirmed late Wednesday. There was no report of the layoff on Tribune’s Web site or related blogs.

Crain’s quoted a memo from Editor Gerould Kern as saying “reductions like these are always painful,” but that the paper needed to “respond quickly to declining revenues and prepare for the future.”

“That means we must evaluate the size of the staff, its skills and organization in order to match the business and our goals,” he added.

Tribune Co. laid off hundreds of employees across its newspapers over the summer, including about 80 at the flagship Chicago Tribune. Earlier this year, the paper also shed dozens of newsroom positions through buyouts, layoffs and attrition.

AP now reports the following:

The Chicago Tribune notified its employees Wednesday that several members of its newsroom staff will leave the paper by the end of the week.

Editor Gerould Kern’s memo to employees, obtained by The Associated Press, did not specify the number of layoffs or who was leaving. Tribune spokesman Michael Dizon declined to comment on internal matters.

“As you are aware, the current financial crisis is the worst since the Depression, and the economic forecast for 2009 is quite sobering,” Kern wrote. “In addition, our industry is in the midst of historic structural change driven by technology and rapid audience fragmentation.”

The newspaper cut 80 jobs less than four months ago, representing 14 percent of the newsroom staff. The Tribune had 480 newsroom employees after the cuts.

Chicago-based Tribune Co., which also owns The Los Angeles Times and other newspapers across the country, announced last month it was consolidating newsgathering operations in Washington.

As in the previous round of layoffs, the dismissed employees will get one week’s pay for every six months of service, up to a maximum of one year’s salary, the memo said. They will also keep getting benefits for a minimum of three months to a maximum of 52 weeks, depending on seniority.

“Reductions like these are always painful,” Kern wrote.

The Audit Bureau of Circulation reported in late October that the Tribune’s circulation though September fell 5.8 percent from last year’s figures for its Sunday editions and 7.8 percent for its weekday editions.

Both declines were greater than the industry average, the Audit Bureau said.