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It's a dramatic headline to be sure, as the Wall Street Journal announces "Star-Ledger Newspaper says 40% of staff to leave". Here are some details:
The Star-Ledger earlier this month said it had secured enough buyout offers and labor concessions to ward off a threatened sale or closure of the paper, the country's 15th-largest by weekday circulation. Executives signaled they wanted about 200 people to depart, but the number of buyout requests was reported to exceed that number."
The news is notable in what it portends for the rest of the newspaper industry, which has long been struggling with the secular challenges to it's business model from the internet, and of late with the weakening Economy and it's obvious impact on the industry's advertising revenues. As the WSJ piece goes on to observe:
"The newspaper industry has slashed thousands of jobs this year as advertising sales dwindle. Gannett Co., which publishes USA Today, said Friday it is looking at its second round of job cuts this year. Tribune Co., McClatchy Co., and New York Times Co. also have significantly cut back news staffs in the last year. On a percentage basis, the Star-Ledger's cuts are among the stiffest at major newspapers."
As the industry grapples with these difficult issues, it will also have to cope soon with the other problem after the inevitable down-sizings occur. As the Editor of the Star-Ledger, Jim Wilse puts it,
"The task now, is to figure out a way to make a good newspaper with a 40% smaller staff."
Easier said than done for sure. But it's something a lot of newspapers are going to need to figure out over the near term.