Tribune Eliminating 400-500 Employees; 2 Percent Of Workforce; 100 At Trib; 100-150 At LAT

In yet another bid to cut costs, Tribune Co. will be cutting between 400-500 jobs, or around 2 percent of its total workforce, reports LA Times. The LA Times itself will see between 100-150 losses, 40-50 of which will come out of the newsroom. Another 100 or so will be at the flagship Chicago Tribune. The Trib cites a memo from publisher Scott Smith saying revenue was down 5 percent at the paper in January. The rest of the eliminations will be at Tribune’s other papers, with the broadcast business spared for now. The cuts will be achieved through a combination of buyouts, attrition and layoffs. It’s the second major shakeup this week under new owner Sam Zell, following personnel changes at Tribune’s Interactive business. The decision was made on Monday during a meeting of Tribune executives in Chicago.

Romenesko has a copy of the message sent out by Zell: “While results so far in broadcasting and interactive are promising, we have not had time yet to realize these gains. Further, a weak economy and significant declines in advertising volume at our newspapers are putting downward pressure on our cash flow. These factors are forcing us to take immediate action, and are the basis for the sense of urgency you’ve heard me talk about so often. It is within this context that I am announcing we must reduce the number of staff positions within the publishing group and corporate office through a combination of voluntary separation programs, involuntary layoffs, attrition and closing of open positions. Each of our newspapers is making its own decision about which programs best suit its needs.”

— The letter goes on to stress that the majority of the cuts will be in finance, HR and technology. And it states that cost cuts are just a component of Zell’s overall turnaround strategy. He notes that the company has been engaged in a “zero-based” budget analysis, which is something Zell’s talked about before to describe the process of starting from scratch on what the organization structure should be like. He also leaves the door open for future hiring increases, and that, “we are still assessing the priorities and needs of our interactive and broadcasting groups.”