When he announced a recent 5 percent pay cut for staff and change in severance payments, St. Petersburg Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash said the cost-cutting “will likely include further job reductions,” and now it has. In a memo to staff, editor Neil Brown acknowledged that layoffs at the Poynter-owned paper had started. “The economy affords us no guarantees,” Brown wrote, “but we hope to wrap up these staffing decisions by the middle of October.” We’ve been told about eight people who were laid off, but have confirmed only three. The full memo follows. || Related: How can there be layoffs at a newspaper which was recently written about as the fourth best newspaper in the country? (St. Petersblog)
From Neil Brown to staff
As you no doubt are aware, the work is underway to restructure our newsroom, adjust our leadership ranks and lower our costs in this terrible economy. In announcing the recent pay-cut/extra days off program, Paul Tash said some job eliminations could be expected; they have begun around the company. In the newsroom, we will say goodbye to some dear co-workers and friends over the next couple weeks.
The nature of the St. Pete Times — we are privately held and strongly believe in discretion around personnel matters — means there is little we can share beyond the periodic notes of farewell. While the staff will be somewhat smaller, we remain committed to producing a first-class metropolitan newspaper and Web site that puts service to the residents of Tampa Bay as our top priority.
We understand the anxiety that such uncertain circumstances produce and share the sadness at seeing friends go. We aim to do this work quickly and treat our staff with respect and dignity. The economy affords us no guarantees, but we hope to wrap up these staffing decisions by the middle of October and then move forward and fully focus on great journalism the rest of the year and in 2012.
As always, I’m available – as are other senior editors – to talk about this or whatever else may be on your mind.
CORRECTION: This post originally had the wrong title for Neil Brown.