In a grim day of reckoning at the state’s largest newspaper, the owners of The Star-Ledger today said they were eliminating the jobs of approximately 167 people, including 25 percent of the newsroom.
The sweeping job loss was part of a plan announced last week in an effort to greatly reduce costs and combine resources by consolidating the operations of The Star-Ledger, along with its sister publications in New Jersey and its online partner, NJ.com, which also announced cutbacks today.
The Star-Ledger, which has won three Pulitzer Prizes and several national awards, currently has 750 employees, of which approximately 500 are non unionized. None of the cuts announced today will affect unionized personnel, who are covered under existing labor contracts.
The cuts will mean the loss of 40 of the 156 reporters, editors, photographers and support staff in The Star-Ledger newsroom, which had already seen a parade of people leaving in recent weeks over concerns about the paper’s future and the continuing fiscal pressures affecting newspapers across the country. One of those leaving voluntarily had been slated to be cut.
The newsroom is not unionized.
Will the non-unionized, union-hating editorial writers continue to write editorials about the evils of teachers unions and such?
Or were they laid off in the carnage too?
Oh, but some of these Star-Ledger employees may be hired back - at lower pay:
Those being let go will not necessarily leave immediately. In packets that were being handed out this morning, those being told their jobs were being eliminated were offered severance packages if they agreed to stay with the newspaper until NJ Advance Media, new media company being formed, is up and running.
Star-Ledger employees receiving offer letters of jobs with the new company in some cases were being given different positions or titles, some at lower pay. They will have a week to decide to accept the offer, the offer letters said.
The unions took hard contracts last year including job losses, so unionized employees didn't go untouched in this mess.
It is a very challenging environment for the creative classes these days - especially writers.
Soon there will only be jobs in finance and services - everything in between will be gone, killed by the Internets, technological advances and globalization.