Sadly Daily Newspapers Are Dying
Chicago Sun-Times executives told the union representing
reporters, editors and columnists at the paper that it intends to eliminate
35 union positions in the newsroom. In addition, the newspaper plans to
eliminate five non-union management positions, sources said.
The newspaper's plan was outlined in a letter Thursday from Sun-Times labor
relations chief Ted Rilea to Chicago Newspaper Guild executive director
"We knew it was going to be bad, but it's worse than people were
expecting,'' said one reporter who spoke on background.
Chicago Newspaper Guild officials will meet with management at the paper
over the next two weeks to negotiate in an effort to avoid as many
"involuntary layoffs'' as possible, said Minkkinen, who added that he was
out of the office and had not yet seen the letter.
"What this basically does is sets the size of the pie as to how much they
wish to cut,'' Minkkinen said. "Everything else is subject is to
negotiation. We will consider every alternative we can.'' The goal of the
negotiations, he added, was to "try and lessen the effects of the layoffs or
But he added that cuts are unavoidable. "There will be cost cutting. It's a
matter of how.''
The cuts are part of a plan the newspaper's owner, Sun-Times Media Group
Inc., announced in December to reduce operating costs by $50 million this
year as the company's financial picture worsens.
Sun-Times Media, which also owns dozens of daily and weekly newspapers in
the suburbs, earlier made the decision to combine its Star newspapers with
the Daily Southtown, resulting in the elimination of 31 positions.
Like most newspaper companies, Sun-Times Media has been hurt over the past
several years by the march of readers and advertisers from print to the
Internet. In addition, Sun-Times Media has been hurt financially by huge
legal and investigative costs associated with the scandal and subsequent
fraud convictions of former CEO Conrad Black and Sun-times publisher David
When asked about morale in the newsroom, Minnkinen said: "obviously people
are down. People are very frightened. There's a hell of a lot concern among
Separately, the company said Thursday that it was parting ways with its Vice
President of Advertising, John Martin. The paper's top advertising executive
had only been in the post since last January.