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Monday, March 16, 2009

N&O cuts to the bone

Posted by on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Before we get to the numbers, here's the most important thing you should know about the News & Observer publishing company:

It's still making money.

Notwithstanding all the worry and wonder about what sort of business model will pay for journalism in the online age, as of this moment, many print newspapers -- including Raleigh's daily -- still make a profit. Just not enough profit to pay the interest on its corporate owner's $2 billion in debt.

Today, the N&O's management announced more staggering job cuts, pay cuts, and unpaid furloughs. The cuts will total 11 percent of the work force. They include the equivalent of 27 newsroom positions -- which means more than 30 people, if you include the part-timers losing their jobs.

Employees were expecting the cuts, but not until the end of this month, according to a staffer. N&O management had warned staffers that as many as 30 newsroom jobs would be lost but told employees that federal labor laws would require more time to pass following layoffs of approximately 75 delivery drivers earlier this year.

Yet this morning, executives at the McClatchy Company, the Sacramento-based newspaper chain that owns the N&O, told its publisher that the announcement should come today in order to coincide with corporate-wide cuts.

That means laid off N&O employees will have more than another month's work ahead of them. How's that for morale?

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