Blog Post

Lee’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch Lays Off 20; Second Round In As Many Months

The week ends with word of more job losses in the troubled newspaper industry. Lee Enterprises’ St. Louis Post-Dispatch cut 20 jobs on Friday and will reduce its Washington bureau to one following the election, according to a memo posted on Romenesko. The staff notice, attributed to Arnie Robbins and Pam Maples, the editor and managing editor, respectively, cites the “difficult year” for the industry in general and the paper in particular. In the memo, Robbins and Maples cite 17 job cuts, while further down, Kevin Mowbray, the P-Ds publisher, says there were 20 jobs eliminated in production and marketing, as well as the newsroom.

In last quarter’s earnings, Lee said that the weakening economy not only hit the publisher on the print side, but even its digital end, as online revs dropped 9.1 percent. Combined print and digital revenues also fell 10 percent. Lee’s fiscal year ends Sept. 28.

Staci adds: We’ve known a number of those involved in the various layoffs and buyouts reported here. This one hits close to home — in fact, it literally hits my home with the Post-Dispatch’s abrupt layoff of my partner Edward H. Kohn, a veteran editor and reporter who started at the P-D in 1976. Most recently, he was assistant business editor. As was the case with the last round, the memo announcing the layoffs unfortunately was all too typical: not one word about the departed employees beyond listing their names and departments — not even an acknowledgment of their contributions to the paper. This morning, they were employees expected to give their all for the company. This afternoon, they’re cost reductions.