By paulgillin | March 25, 2009 - 1:01 pm - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Paywalls

With this latest and deepest round of layoffs, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will have cut the population of its newsroom by more than half since 2006.

The newspaper announced today that 30% of its editorial staff will be dismissed through a combination of voluntary buyouts and layoffs. Another 107 full- and part-time jobs will be eliminated because of a reduction in circulation. The move will trim the size of the news group to about 230, from a high of 500 people just three years ago. Distribution to seven outlying counties will be severed, reducing the AJC‘s reach to 20 metro Atlanta counties.

This is the third round of layoffs at the AJC, which can’t be accused of dribbling away staff.  In December, it eliminated 56 full-time and 100 part-time jobs in its circulation unit. Last July, it cut 189 jobs – including 85 in the newsroom – while also spending $30 million on new printing presses. In that move, the paper also discontinued all its regional editions, including the Gwinnett County regional, where its main printing press was located.

The new cutbacks will target people making the most money.  Most of the reductions “will be in production and management, allowing us to keep as many news reporters as possible,” AJC Editor Julia Wallace said.

And this isn’t the end. “Today’s announcements are the first in a series of initiatives we’ll announce over the next 90 days to reduce costs,” said Publisher Doug Franklin, who added that the goal is to regain profitability by 2010.

Remaining editorial staff will be reshuffled to plow more resources into the profitable Sunday edition.  The strategy hints at possible cuts in frequency, which has been a popular cost-saving move for an increasing number of papers in the last few months.



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  1. March 25, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

    [The new cutbacks will target people making the most money. Most of the reductions “will be in production and management, allowing us to keep as many news reporters as possible,” AJC Editor Julia Wallace said.]

    If newspapers cut the fat management positions years ago, they’d be in better position today to survive. I love how the fat-cat management positions are only cut as a last resort before going under.

    Posted by Newspaper Fan
  2. March 25, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

    The Houston Chronicle laid off some 70 to 90 editorial department employees on Tuesday, nearly 30 percent of its newsroom staff.

    Posted by Talespinner
  3. March 25, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

    Well, wonder of wonders. The Urinal & Constipation has been in a tailspin for years, well before its time, due in large part to the recently departed Jay Smith. Yes, Jay, we all remember the days of rampant spending, overstaffing, a corporated climate that was littered with smart people who were never held accountable for productivity, and on and on.
    We all remember how the latest buzz words were thrown around as if they were a badge of brilliance, and yet no one could ever figure out how to monitize any of it and, better yet, no one seemed to care. Hell, if it didn’t work, just go spend money on a new toy and brush up on new buzz words.
    And, let’s not forget how you ranted on and on about the integrity of the newsroom and how advertisers would line up forever to by adjacencies to your liberal drivel so entrenched in the new southern red states. Yeah, right. Did you not see that one coming?
    And now you have the nerve to start a new venture,, and continue your antiquated speeches and drawn-out lecturing of how audiences will forever love the feel of ink on their fingers.
    No one’s listening anymore, Jay. It’s your turn. You should have asked those of us who were actually doing the work then what would work and what wouldn’t. But, you didn’t ask. You had a different formula.
    The Jay Smith formula: An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
    Well, Jay, enjoy your parachute and your pension. We earned it for you, the least you can do now is not screw that up!!

    Posted by Raul
  4. April 2, 2009 @ 3:28 am

    Sorry to see this happening. I am not from the area, but I can assure everyone that this will snowball. The easy solution is for publications to charge for online viewing. Not sure why this wasn’t implemented in the first place, there are plenty of sites that mandate a fee for info and viewing (including federal government documentation). If these measures are put in place now, I’m sure there won’t be many objections. And people can keep their jobs. Although many are vehemently opposed to free market ideas and capitalism (see G-20 summit demonstrations) this could be a viable solution to sustain the publication media. “Free press” does not mean that the information is free of charge, only that the freedom of the press shall reign and free exchange of ideas is generally accepted. The paperboy demanded a nickel, what has changed?

    Posted by SabianBigRide