Monday, May 2, 2011

Layoff ax takes another swing through The Kansas City Star

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 2:57 PM

click to enlarge A bad quarter for the parent company leads to more layoffs.
  • A bad quarter for the parent company leads to more layoffs.

Kansas City Star publisher Mark Zieman is becoming adept at writing memos in which he states his hope for better days ahead as he announces the involuntary departure of people who work at the paper.

Zieman announced today that the Star was "eliminating about two dozen jobs and cutting a smaller number of unfilled positions," the fifth round of cuts in two years. Tony's Kansas City says film critic Robert Butler is one of the casualties.

Butler was reduced to part-time work in a previous round of cost-cutting at the Star. In-house movie criticism has been deemed expendable by a number of cash-strapped newspaper publishers.

The McClatchy Co., the Star's owner, recently announced a $2 million loss in the first quarter of 2011. Writing on his blog last Tuesday, local media critic John Landsberg stated that the grim financial news at HQ prompted rumors at the Star that "a layoff of about 20 employees might be on the horizon."

Alas, the rumors were true. According to the Star's business blog, Zieman told employees in an e-mail that the cuts were necessary because the "recession that has buffeted our advertisers continues to hold our industry in its grip." He added: "We must continue to operate as efficiently as possible until economic pressures ease and revenues rebound."

Zieman said the newspaper's "overall financial health is strong" and praised the newsroom's ability to "produce first-class, original journalism." The coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden was cited as "a stunning case study in how to do more with less."


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