McClatchy cuts 1400 jobs. Six Northwest papers affected

by DAN CATCHPOLE, Associated Press

Five McClatchy Co. daily newspapers in the Northwest and one in Alaska are affected by the newspaper company's announcement Monday that it is slashing 1,400 jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force.

In Washington state, 123 positions will be cut at four newspapers - The News Tribune of Tacoma, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald. Twenty-four production jobs are being cut at The Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho.

Thirty-five jobs will be affected at the Anchorage Daily News.

In addition, McClatchy said it will partner with Pioneer Newspapers to print its Idaho Statesman and Bellingham Herald, a move McClatchy said would reduce expenses while improving the quality of both newspapers.

McClatchy said 84 positions, or 13 percent of The News Tribune staff, will be cut. Five of those jobs will be lost in the newsroom, and an additional four newsroom jobs currently empty will not be filled, Executive Editor Dave Zeeck said.

The Olympian will reduce its work force by 17 positions, or about 9 percent, across a number of departments including news, Publisher John Winn Miller said Monday.

The Bellingham Herald will lose 13 employees, or 10 percent of its staff, said Glen Nardi, president and publisher. Four of those full-time jobs will come from the newsroom.

The Tri-City Herald said it will eliminate nine jobs, in advertising, circulation and production. No newsroom layoffs were planned, largely because some previous positions were eliminated through attrition.

McClatchy said it has entered a long-term agreement to print the Idaho Statesman, a 63,000-circulation daily, at the Pioneer-owned Idaho Press Tribune, located west of Boise in Nampa, Idaho. That change is expected to take place in early 2009.

The two companies also have signed a letter of intent to print The Bellingham Herald, a 22,000-circulation daily, at Pioneer's Skagit Valley Herald plant in Mount Vernon, Wash. That change is expected within the second quarter of next year.

"This new partnership is an innovative way to better serve readers and advertisers at each newspaper," said David Lord, president of Pioneer Newspapers.

McClatchy said the job cuts are its latest effort to cut costs amid rapidly dwindling advertising revenues.

McClatchy, which publishes 30 daily newspapers, also reported a 15.4 percent decline in advertising revenues in the first five months of the year.

The cuts at McClatchy come amid a broad retrenchment in the U.S. newspaper industry as the economic downturn combined with competition for classified advertising from online rivals like Craigslist have resulted in a steep slump in advertising revenues.

Other cost-saving moves are being implemented as well. The Olympian and The News Tribune will more closely coordinate their advertising and circulation departments although news departments will remain autonomous.

McClatchy said the staff cuts would save $70 million a year, part of a program to reduce overall expenses by $95 million to $100 million. It didn't specify where the other cuts would come from.

McClatchy's shares fell 11 cents to $8.04 Monday, close to the bottom end of their 52-week range of $7.51 to $28.73.

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