The Fresno Bee said Wednesday it will lay off 63 people, cut pay and take other steps as the economic crisis drives advertisers to reduce spending or go out of business.
In a memo to employees, Bee President and Publisher Will Fleet said the cuts will occur in all departments, including news, advertising, circulation, operations and community publications.
“Almost daily, we see stories in our paper about companies that are restructuring or downsizing,” Fleet said later in the day. “Unfortunately, that news hit home for us today. I want to thank the dedicated people of The Fresno Bee for their fortitude during these challenging times, and we sincerely appreciate the good work of the employees who will be leaving us.”
Fleet said online readership continues to grow and print readership remains strong. But advertisers, who provide most of the paper’s revenue, have pulled back dramatically.
The cuts announced Wednesday are part of an effort by The Bee’s Sacramento-based parent, The McClatchy Co., to reduce annual expenses by more than $100 million. While still profitable, the company faces not only declining revenue but heavy debt from its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc.
McClatchy said Monday it would cut about 15% of its work force, or about 1,600 full-time jobs, nationwide. The company owns 30 daily newspapers and 50 non-daily publications.
The layoffs are the third round of job cuts at The Fresno Bee since June.
Earlier this week, members of the California Media Workers Guild, which represents The Bee’s rank-and-file newsroom employees, agreed to accept pay cuts to reduce the number of layoffs.
Even with that concession, however, 16 full-time and five part-time newsroom workers will lose their jobs, along with seven newsroom managers.
Voluntary buyouts are being offered to some newsroom employees with terms equal to those for laid-off workers: two weeks of severance pay for every year of service. Departing workers also will receive two months of pay because state law requires 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs.
To see the latest tally of McClatchy cuts, click here.
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