Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Staff cuts don't bode well for paper's future

The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild today condemed Tribune's decision to cut more staff at The Sun as "a shortsighted move that further damages Maryland's largest newspaper." Read the WBNG press release here.

Sending out the door the very people who collect, investigate, report, analyze, photograph, edit, produce and sell the news isn't going to fix the declining revenue problem. "The Sun's institutional knowledge is slipping out the door," said Bill Salganik, President of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, which represents reporters, photographers, columnists, copy editors, designers, advertising personnel, sales assistants, customer service representatives, finance specialists, productions and systems support, all jobs that are essential to the daily operation of The Sun. "We are losing a tremendous amount of talent. Quality is imperative, yet with these cuts Tribune compromises quality. Our readers and the state at large deserve much better."

But Tribune continues to cut staff claiming declining revenues requires such drastic measures. Perhaps it's got the business model backwards. Disappearing newsrooms result in declining quality. Readership goes down, advertisers bail and circulation tanks. Result? Revenue losses.

"Layoffs and further reduction in staff is not the answer," said Michael Hill, Chair of the Guild Unit at The Sun ... "Management needs to rethink its mission and work with us to build The Sun so it remains one of the greatest newspapers in America."

Perhaps it's time Tribune listened to it's staff instead of the consultants and bean-counters. Three years of brutal staff cuts hasn't stopped revenue losses. They won't now either.
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