The McClatchy Co., battered by declining profits and revenue, announced a 10 percent companywide cut in its work force Monday, including...
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The McClatchy Co., battered by declining profits and revenue, announced a 10 percent companywide cut in its work force Monday, including the Sacramento publisher’s first-ever across-the-board layoffs.
The decision will eliminate 1,400 jobs through a combination of layoffs, voluntary departures and attrition.
McClatchy is the third-largest U.S. newspaper chain. Besides its flagship Sacramento Bee, its 30 daily newspapers include The News Tribune in Tacoma, The Olympian, The Bellingham Herald and the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick; The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Charlotte Observer. McClatchy also owns a 49.5 percent interest in The Seattle Times Co.
The News Tribune reported Monday its staff will be reduced by 13 percent, or 84 positions, according to a memo to employees from the company’s human-resources, finance and news executives.
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The Olympian is reducing its work force by 17 positions, or about 9 percent, publisher John Winn Miller said Monday.
To operate more efficiently, The Olympian and The News Tribune will more closely coordinate the ad and circulation departments. However, the news departments will remain autonomous, the memo adds.
McClatchy has prided itself on avoiding across-the-board layoffs even as it has used buyouts and attrition to cut its head count 13 percent since April 2006. But with the company struggling and its stock price down about 80 percent in two years, McClatchy said it had to act more decisively to reduce costs as it transitions to a company more fully focused on the Internet.
In a separate announcement, McClatchy said its May revenue fell 15.1 percent; ad sales fell 16.6 percent.
“The effects of the current national economic downturn — particularly in real estate, auto and employment advertising — make it essential that we move faster now to realign our work force and make our operations more efficient,” Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt said in a statement.
Monday’s announcement could test McClatchy’s reputation as a publisher that can balance quality journalism with the incessant demands of Wall Street. Until now, it has been one of the few publishers to hold to a policy of no broad layoffs, although many of its papers have eliminated jobs through buyouts and attrition.
“McClatchy is still viewed as a newspaper company that cares about quality,” said industry analyst John Morton. The cutback “puts a dent in that, but it’s not a deep slash.”
Other chains have been making deep cuts aimed primarily at newsrooms, he said.