The News Tribune on Monday offered voluntary buyout deals to 189 of its 350 full-time staffers although the publisher said the newspaper doesn't intend to accept anywhere near that number as it works to bring its expenses in line with reduced advertising income.
TACOMA — The News Tribune on Monday offered voluntary buyout deals to 189 of its 350 full-time staffers although the publisher said the newspaper doesn’t intend to accept anywhere near that number as it works to bring its expenses in line with reduced advertising income.
“The first order of business is any expense reduction that doesn’t involve people,” Publisher David Zeeck said in a telephone interview, adding the paper is looking at other, unspecified things in terms of both revenues and expenses.
He declined to say how much the paper was trying to achieve in annual savings. He added the buyout offer was just a “first piece” to see how many staffers might be interested in accepting.
Expense trimming could potentially involve layoffs, depending on the response to the buyout offer and what savings can be achieved elsewhere, he said.
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“We have to produce a quality product and get it to people,” Zeeck said.
The newspaper also said it has imposed workweek reductions on all hourly workers.
The buyout offer announced Monday is the second round of staff reductions at the paper. Eighty-two News Tribune workers left the paper as a result of a similar offer in mid-June.
A story posted on the newspaper’s Web site said affected employees were being offered a buyout package of two weeks’ pay for each year of service up to 13 years and some health benefits.
“I know these are difficult, stressful times,” Zeeck wrote in a memo to staffers. “But I also know that the work we do is important, and I want to reassure you that our overarching focus remains the same: to be the most trusted supplier of local news and advertising for the South Sound.”
The News Tribune is majority-owned by McClatchy Co., which owns a minority share in The Seattle Times.