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Will the Union-Tribune be cutting back on its music coverage? Earlier this month, a memo from U-T management to employees said that 43 editorial positions were going to be eliminated, including 3 "critic" positions from the arts and entertainment department. Employees were offered buy-out packages.

Michael Kinsman, a 25-year veteran of the U-T newsroom, was one of 29 editorial staffers who accepted the buy-out. Kinsman was a business writer for 24 years but regularly contributed features and reviews on blues and roots-rock artists. His last day at the paper was Friday. He is not sure if he will continue to write music stories.

"There is no question this will damage the quality of the paper," says Kinsman about the cuts. Quality criticism, he says, "...is where a paper can really shine." He thinks that Varga, who has been the U-T pop music critic for more than 20 years, "is probably safe."

Night & Day editor Michael Crowell says all U-T arts writers (Varga and Nina Garin, for example) will now pool their work with SignOnSanDiego.com writers. Crowell says that no editorial positions were eliminated from the paper's Internet staff.

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