Pioneer Press looks to cut 15 newsroom jobs

Categories: Media

Not be outdone by the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press announced this afternoon that it's seeking buyouts from 15 editorial staffers. Employees who voluntarily depart will receive two weeks of pay for each year of service at the St. Paul daily. Here's the note sent out by editor Thom Fladung:

Fellow Pioneer Press staffers:

We are offering a buyout program in the newsroom.

Newsroom employees can apply for a buyout that will offer two weeks' pay for each year of service, up to the equivalent of one year's pay. Also, the Pioneer Press will pay the company portion of COBRA health-care coverage for up to six months, based on years of service.

We would like to grant buyouts to at least 15 people in the newsroom.

Here's how it will work: Anyone interested in the buyout should see me immediately. If you elect to volunteer for the buyout, you'll be asked to sign an election sheet available from me, Barb Johnson or Human Resources. To be eligible for the buyout, you must return this sheet to Mica Carlson in Human Resources no later than noon Central time on July 24.

The Pioneer Press must approve each buyout application. And while our intent is to grant at least 15 buyouts in the newsroom, we may accept more or less depending on who applies and our ongoing needs. We will base who gets buyouts on:
* Length of employment
* Impact on and contribution to the paper
* Breadth and depth of skills/work experience
* Unique skills/work experience

We will tell you whether we have accepted your buyout by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25. For those people granted buyouts, the last day of work will be Friday, July 27.

Mica Carlson, Lynne Swenson and others in Human Resources will be available to answer your questions and to help should you be considering this step.

Why are we doing this? Financial conditions have only gotten tougher in the first six months of 2007. We continue to work on new ways to increase revenue, particularly with online initiatives and niche publications. Meanwhile, though, we believe we have to act now -- both to deal with the current economic conditions and to put us on a more stable footing going into the near future.

We remain committed to our mission of emphasizing distinctive local news from everyone in the newsroom and continuing to emphasize zoning for community news from our metro desk.

As with the last round of buyouts, we will be conducting these with that mission in mind. And we will react and reorganize in the newsroom to deal with the changes that will come with the buyouts.

Please feel free to come to me with any questions.

Thom

Thom Fladung
Editor
St. Paul Pioneer Press
651-228-5487


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