Oregonian hopes to ‘keep reporter numbers where they are today’

How many jobs did The Oregonian shed after it announced staff and home-delivery reductions last week? Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh reports “about 95 employees” lost their jobs.

University of Oregon professor Suzi Steffen was more exact:

Asked about layoff numbers, Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia referred me to publisher N. Christian Anderson III, who told me in an email: “I am not commenting on the number of layoffs, either company-wide or in the newsroom. At any rate, not everyone who was offered a severance package may end up leaving.”

In an email, Bhatia told me the organization will hire more people. “Our goal is to keep reporter numbers where they are today — about 90,” he writes.

The Oregonian is owned by Advance. Steven Newhouse, chairman of Advance.net, told me last year that at his company’s New Orleans Times-Picayune, “the overall newsroom reduction [was] about 20 percent” following initial reductions. “[W]hen we’re fully staffed we’re gonna have a very significant content team,” Newhouse said last August.

Related: The Oregonian: Going the way of all newspapers? (Crosscut)

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  • http://www.WhoNeedsNewspapers.org/ Paul Steinle

    Thanks for that more nuanced answer.

  • JTFloore

    the paper I no longer receive is in a larger, nearby metropolitan area. the community where I live has its own local paper, which I still receive, and it has a smattering of national news/sports. I did not say the “diminished [metro] paper” is “worthless.” clearly it is not. it’s just that with only three-day delivery, I already don’t get it four days a week. if the paper does not expect me to miss it four days a week, then its business plan encourages me not to miss it the three other days.
    now i rely on regional/metro tv for much of my local news and my much smaller local paper for its level of regional, state, national and even international news. I also see (and pay for) the nytimes online daily.

  • http://www.WhoNeedsNewspapers.org/ Paul Steinle

    JTFloor’s response raises some interesting questions: Where does Floore now go to get information about the community. The newspaper, though reduced, is still likely to employ the largest professional news staff in the community. So is the diminished paper truly worthless? Probably not, but this perception is very harmful to a newspaper’s existence. And so the spiral of decline is nurtured,

  • JTFloore

    for years I subscribed to one of advance’s alabama papers but don’t now that it publishes just three days a week. I don’t miss it. i almost never bother to look at their web site. they have dramatically cut back on staff and, hence, are unable to provide the news, sports and feature coverage they once did. many of the reputable, experienced reporters they had are long gone. I think they have shot themselves in the foot with their so-called march-into-the-future strategy. i think their business “strategy” is hastening their total demise.

  • http://www.WhoNeedsNewspapers.org/ Paul Steinle

    Advance Communications (AC)
    began their “march into the future” with the dismantling of the Ann Arbor News in 2009. Sadly, since AC is privately held, it is difficult to determine their track record in Michigan, Alabama, Louisiana and, shortly, Oregon since them. It’s difficult to see if they are pursuing a “milk every dollar” strategy or if they are sincerely seeking a “new business” model — part print part INTERNET — to stay in the news business.

  • Robert Knilands

    It is the height of naivete to look simply at staffing numbers.

  • markloundy

    Does that “90″ number include photographers? Editors?