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Arizona Daily Star Layoffs Cast Long Shadow Over North County Times

The blogosphere is full of rumors of a soon-to-come avalanche of newspaper layoffs and one actual report of real firings today, all of which may offer clues to the future of newspapers in southern California, including San Diego county.

L.A. Observed reported today that the L.A. Times, with the bankruptcy proceedings of Tribune Co., its owner, wrapping up, may be on the market and ready to cut staff.

Amid new talk of layoffs, blogs are hot at the Times

Also today, the online Tucson Sentinel is reporting that the Arizona Daily Star, also of Tucson, is laying off up to 40 workers.

The Daily Star is owned by Lee Enterprises, which also owns the Escondido-based North County Times.

"As many as 15 newsroom employees and many employees in the advertising, circulation, finance, and IT departments were also reportedly let go.

"It's not yet clear how many total employees were let go, but initial reports point to about 40 from the newspaper who had to pack their working lives into cardboard boxes."

Daily Star axes 40 in newsroom, marketing, advertising

"Lee is widely thought to be on the verge of bankruptcy. The decline in newspaper circulation in recent years, and the company's crushing $1.1 billion debt from its purchase of the Pulitzer chain (which brought it the Star), have pushed Lee to cut costs.

"In May, the company backed away from a plan to refinance the debt, which comes due in April 2012, after investors failed to bite. Lee stock has dropped by 70 percent in the last few months, and is now under a dollar."

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“At the end, people got cardboard boxes on their desks”

The blogosphere is full of rumors of a soon-to-come avalanche of newspaper layoffs and one actual report of real firings today, all of which may offer clues to the future of newspapers in southern California, including San Diego county.

L.A. Observed reported today that the L.A. Times, with the bankruptcy proceedings of Tribune Co., its owner, wrapping up, may be on the market and ready to cut staff.

Amid new talk of layoffs, blogs are hot at the Times

Also today, the online Tucson Sentinel is reporting that the Arizona Daily Star, also of Tucson, is laying off up to 40 workers.

The Daily Star is owned by Lee Enterprises, which also owns the Escondido-based North County Times.

"As many as 15 newsroom employees and many employees in the advertising, circulation, finance, and IT departments were also reportedly let go.

"It's not yet clear how many total employees were let go, but initial reports point to about 40 from the newspaper who had to pack their working lives into cardboard boxes."

Daily Star axes 40 in newsroom, marketing, advertising

"Lee is widely thought to be on the verge of bankruptcy. The decline in newspaper circulation in recent years, and the company's crushing $1.1 billion debt from its purchase of the Pulitzer chain (which brought it the Star), have pushed Lee to cut costs.

"In May, the company backed away from a plan to refinance the debt, which comes due in April 2012, after investors failed to bite. Lee stock has dropped by 70 percent in the last few months, and is now under a dollar."

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Comments
2

As a North County Times employee, I extend my sympathies to those laid off from the Daily Star, and hope we will avoid that long shadow of additional layoffs.

(DISCLAIMER: This is just me speaking, but I believe my colleagues feel the same way. We haven't given up!) Since we're in the information business, we can scarcely escape hearing the gloomy news. But we're still working hard to show that newspapers, in print and online, have a place in the 21st century.

Also, kudos to the SD Reader for stepping up the frequency and extent of its blogs.

July 22, 2011

The U-T has virtually abandoned North County reporting of late. The only thing still remaining is the Logan Jenkins column, and he's understandably trying to make his columns entertaining first, and informative second. Now only the NCT is covering things like school board meetings. If school boards were the colorless and dry bodies they once were, that would be OK, but as we know, plenty happens in school districts. They are multi-million dollar enterprises now, are some of the largest employers in the area, and are rife with controversy, frequent scandals, and philosophical disagreements.

Here in North County we need the NCT and we need it to keep reporting real NEWS. I can only pray that the NCT can stay the course and keep this end of the county and its pols honest.

July 24, 2011

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