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Newspaper Roundup: Layoffs At Two Dozen Bay Area Dailies; Duluth News Also Plans Job Cuts

The end of the week brought more announcements of job losses and plans to cut staffs at newspapers in the Midwest and West, most notably, the San Jose Mercury News was hit with cuts again. Details follow:

MediaNews Group: A round of layoffs hit two dozen daily and weekly Bay Area newspapers owned by MediaNews and operated by the Bay Area News Group, the Mercury News reported. As expected, the Silicon Valley-based Mercury News was one of them. This was the third round of layoffs the paper has endured; the other two other rounds occurred in July 2007 and December 2006.

The other papers, which include the Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times, said they were cutting 10 percent through buyouts given to 107 people. Enough people took the buyouts to avoid layoffs.

San Jose Mercury News: The Silicon Valley-based paper slashed 50 jobs through a combination of layoffs and buyouts. The newsroom lost 15 employees to layoffs; 19 staffers from other parts of the paper were laid off as well. Meanwhile, 16 workers accepted buyout offers, five from the newsroom. The reductions add up to a cut of about 5 percent for the newspaper. The Mercury News is owned by Denver-based MediaNews, which runs the Bay Area News Group together with Gannett (NYSE: GCI) and Stephens Media.

Duluth News Tribune: Separate from the MediaNews layoffs, the Duluth News Tribune also said it was planning to eliminate between 15 and 30 positions, or roughly 13 percent of its workforce. The Minnesota paper, which is owned by Forum Communications, has about 220 employees. Buyout offers are being planned as well, to reduce the amount of cuts, according to AP.