The Sacramento Bee has been an institution in the Sacramento community for more than 150 years. But the economic downturn has the paper fighting for its survival.
I'm doing what I love, but lately, it's been difficult," said newspaper reporter Ed Fletcher. He also serves as the local president of The Newspaper Guild, the employee union.
Fletcher admitted that the union has been told the paper will hand out warning notices on Friday, telling them they could be laid off in 60 days.
"It's our understanding that there will be 50 layoffs, probably closer to 70 or more," Fletcher said.
Like other media outlets, the Sacramento Bee is getting fewer clients to pay for revenue producing ads.
"If car dealers are struggling, then we're going to struggle," Fletcher said. "If people aren't selling homes in the paper, we're going to hurt. There's a trickle down effect and it's going to effect us."
Advertising assistance Cindi Taylor has worked for the paper for ten years. "It's pretty grim. It's hard to watch people lose accounts," Bee advertising assistance Cindi Taylor, who has worked at the Bee for 10 years.
Taylor also watched the paper lay off 86 people last summer, then another 44 people left with buyout packages in the fall.
She wonders if she's next. "It would be pretty scary," said Taylor "That's what all the staff is thinking right now. What would they be doing? With their skills, where else could they go?"
In a statement, the newspaper's publisher Cheryl Dell said "Newspapers are tied to the market they serve. We are facing the same economic challenges as many other businesses in the area."
"While we are facing tough times, we will not close our doors," Dell said. "The Bee remains the strongest media in the Sacramento region."
Fletcher said more staff cuts could reduce the paper's ability to cover stories.
"We can't cover as many girls basketball games. We can't cover the city of Roseville or Elk Grove like we used to," Fletcher said. "We're going to be leaner and meaner and it's going to be a tough time, but hopefully, our readers stay with us."
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