Thousands of newspaper jobs go in US midsummer massacre

In the past two months almost 4,000 jobs have vanished at US newspapers.

The lay offs – including many editorial positions – have ranged from the Honolulu Advertiser to the Hollywood Reporter to the Baltimore Sun. Even the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have not escaped. It’s been dubbed The Midsummer Massacre.

One of the earliest casualties was The Tampa Tribune in Florida which, along with its sister broadcasting station, lost 110 positions, almost ten per cent of its staff, including at least 50 in the newsroom. The cut back in staff almost matched the amount of revenue that was down in the second quarter of this year.

The Washington Post reduced its newsroom staff by more than 12 per cent of the total – more than 100 jobs. Other big cuts have occured at USA Today (50 jobs), the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News (150 jobs) plus 55 layoffs at four newspapers in New Jersey.

At the Honolulu Advertiser last week 54 of the staff were laid off. Even small papers like the Hartford Courant (57 jobs) and the Orlando Sentinel (50 jobs) have suffered.

The Wall Street Journal, the latest acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is cutting 50 jobs to consolidate some of its news and feature departments.

At some papers the lay-offs have led to protests and demonstrations, At the Baltimore Sun – where 100 employees have been laid off – some staff took to the streets in protest, wearing black clothing as they marched outside the paper’s offices.

Even the New York Times has not escaped. It has said it will be compelled to eliminate around 100 newsroom positions by the end of the year. The paper admits that in the second quarter of this year its total revenue fell almost 4 per cent to under $800 million.

Some newspapers, to cut costs, are switching their production and printing to other companies, even one-time big rivals. It’s a move even being considered by the New York Post and its big rival the New York Daily News.

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