PROVIDENCE -- The Providence Journal Co. is laying off 31 people -- about 4 percent of the company's total work force -- as part of a broader cost-cutting effort by its parent company, A.H. Belo Corp. of Dallas.
Overall, 25 part-time workers and 6 full-time Journal workers are to be laid off, effective today, said Howard G. Sutton, the Journal Co.'s chairman, publisher, president and chief executive officer.
They will receive severance ranging from 2 weeks pay to 35 weeks pay, depending on their years of service, Sutton said.
A.H. Belo announced plans in July to cut $50 million in expenses, partly by reducing the work force at its newspapers in Providence, Dallas, and Riverside, Calif.
The job cuts are the result of a broad restructuring that A.H. Belo said it was implementing as it faces an "unprecedentedly adverse business environment in the newspaper industry."
A.H. Belo said it planned to eliminate the equivalent of about 500 full-time jobs company wide, representing about 14 percent of its overall work force of about 3,570 employees.
At the time, A.H. Belo said it hoped to achieve the targeted job cuts through voluntary severance offers. If not enough workers agreed to the buyout, the company said it would have to resort to layoffs.
Overall, more than 400 A.H. Belo employees wound up taking the buyout, including 22 at the Providence Journal, 270 at the Dallas Morning News and 120 at the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., but the total was less than sought.
As a result, A.H. Belo is laying off 50 employees at the Dallas Morning News, about 30 at The Press-Enterprise and 31 at the Providence Journal...
The story continues, including a mention that this is believed to be the first time in the newspaper's history that the company has laid off news employees. The Providence Journal was founded in 1829, and operated independently until its sale to Dallas-based Belo in 1996.
By contract with the Providence Newspaper Guild, all full-time employees have seniority over all part-time employees, many of whom are working mothers. This has resulted in a disproportionate number of women -- 7 men, 21 women -- being cut from the news staff. Three female managers are also laid off. There are more details in the Providence Newspaper Guild newsletters.
Some of these Rhode Islanders have worked at the Journal for decades. I've worked with most of them over the years as colleagues and friends, and losing them is more than personally wrenching: Some of Rhode Island's best journalists will be filing for unemployment tomorrow. Twelve other news staffers who took the buyout have already left. Their bare, empty desks have created yawning holes in the newsroom; their good work no longer informs the daily news report.
A restructuring of the news operation is to follow, according to publisher Howard Sutton.
Goodbye, Brandie, Kathy, Karen, Pat, Laura, Fran, Pam, Tom, Dan, Fran, Millie, Willie (Marty), Kate, Linda, Jean, Doreen, Sara, Sarah, Cynthia, Steve, Meaghan, Judith, David, Ellen, Kelli...
No matter what the stock market does today, it's Black Friday on Fountain Street.