Times-Picayune To Go The Way Of The Ann Arbor News; Deep Cuts Coming

The New Orleans Times-Picayune is losing a large chunk of its staff and may cease daily publication, the New York Times reported late last night.

Owner Advance Publications/Newhouse Newspapers may be following the Ann Arbor model, in which it transformed the Ann Arbor News from a print to a primarily web-focused publication, cutting staff in the process.

Editor Jim Amoss is said to be leaving after assisting with the transition. Also departing will be managing editors Peter Kovacs and Dan Shea.

Gambit, a local NOLA weekly, has more from shocked employees: “All employees with whom Gambit spoke — even longtime senior writers and editors — said they learned of their fates from The New York Times report….’I had to find this out by Twitter,’ said [a reporter]. ‘Do I go in to the office tomorrow? Do I even have a job to go in to tomorrow? I don’t know. No one has called me. No one has said anything.'”

Also according to Gambit, the layoffs are likely to target at least 50 reporters, bringing the newsroom staff down by one third. The remainder will likely take salary cuts and become bloggers.

If the Times-Picayune owners are truly emulating the Ann Arbor model, the cuts are likely to be deeper than just those 50. When the Ann Arbor News closed, about 10 percent of the 274 employees got jobs at the new AnnArbor.com.