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Tribune to Cut Nearly 700 Newspaper Jobs as Part of Restructuring

6/17/2014

By Tony Maglio
TheWrap

Tribune Co., the parent company of the LA Times, is cutting nearly 700 jobs, mostly across its eight newspapers, the company said on Wednesday.

The reorganization will primarily involve operations personnel rather than reporters and editors. It will see a consolidation of functions that are now managed by individual papers — such as advertising and circulation — into single units across the company.

"Over time, there will be some small reductions in editorial staff, but the majority of these reductions are going to come from non-reader-facing functions," Tribune's chief executive Peter Liguori said in the LA Times. "It's never easy to let go of our colleagues, especially in Tribune, where people have made real significant contributions. But it is critical that we recognize what is going on secularly and we position the business for the best future we can."

Ligouri added that the move is "not by any means a Hail Mary pass."

Also read:  Kathy Thomson Stepping Down as President and COO of Los Angeles Times

Tribune reported a nearly $50-million profit in the third quarter, but that came largely from cost cutting amid a further erosion in newspaper advertising.

Here is a memo sent today from Liguori to employees, posted by LA Observed:

Today, we are announcing an organizational and strategic transformation designed to ensure the long-term vitality of Tribune's publishing business. Our top priority every day is delivering outstanding journalism to our readers and great value to our advertisers, while running our business to proactively address the secular realities of the publishing industry.

To move forward productively, we must explore innovative ways to more efficiently operate our business. Specifically, we must take better advantage of Tribune's unique size and reach. To that end, we have decided to unify the non-editorial functions of our publishing businesses.

Aligning the non-editorial areas of our business units by function, rather than by geography, will allow us to better share best-practices, create efficiencies and maintain our local focus. This will enable us, in turn, to continue investing in the lifeblood of our business: best-in-class reporting, effective sales and digital growth.

Going forward, it is especially important that we invest more concertedly in our digital areas so we can get ahead of the quickly evolving, digital needs of our readers. We have appointed Bill Adee to lead a new team of people charged with authoring Tribune Publishing's digital future. Later today, Eddy Hartenstein and Tony Hunter will announce the appointments of leaders in other key publishing areas such as advertising, marketing, manufacturing and distribution, and human resources.

Our long-time, local publishers and editors will continue leading their publishing businesses and newsrooms. This new structure will afford our publishers, editors and their staffs greater opportunity to focus on what they do best– servicing their local readers, advertisers and communities.

Creating these critical efficiencies and ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff. It is always difficult to part with valued colleagues, particularly those at Tribune who have unwaveringly served our publishing businesses over the years. On behalf of the entire company, I thank them for their dedication, hard work and contributions.

I also want to thank the dozens of people across the company who have worked diligently with Eddy and Tony during the last several months to meticulously design Tribune Publishing's new operating structure. I am confident that the functionally-driven organization we are announcing today will provide our publishing businesses with the focused leadership, resources and expertise they require to successfully navigate the challenges ahead while continuing to produce the best printed and digital news products in the country.

Peter

More to come …

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