Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AP layoffs underway; hit at least one state capital

UPDATE 11/20: The AP tells Joe Strupp that 90 union employees have been laid off, which meets the news cooperative's goal of cutting payroll by 10 percent in 2009., using anonymous tips and sources, has organized the layoffs with a Google Map. (Read more)

In a move that will affect rural news consumers across the country, The Associated Press began widespread layoffs Tuesday in an effort to reach a cost-cutting goal. The News Media Guild said in a statement to Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher that 90 union employees (updated 11/20) had received termination notices, but NMG President Tony Winton said he did not know how many non-union employees had been let go. The guild represents 1,300 of AP's 4,000 employees.

Three of the terminations came in Kentucky, including the news editor in Louisville and one of two reporters in the Frankfort statehouse bureau. Kentucky journalists called the cut a disaster because only two of the state's 24 daily newspapers have reporters in the capital. Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. has a reporter there for the chain's five dailies and six weeklies in the state.

As part of what has classified as "widespread closure of smaller AP bureas," the bureaus in Wausau, Wis., and Albany, Ga., will be closed. The news editor in Little Rock will also now oversee Oklahoma, Gawker reports, citing unnamed sources. AP has consolidates many state operations in recent years. The total union layoffs include 33 reporters, 19 editorial assistants and five photographers, the NMG said. You can see Gawker's updated, unsourced list of AP layoffs here.

Last year AP announced it planned to cut payroll by 10 percent by the end of 2009, Strupp reports. The news cooperative had already reduced its staff by 100 this year through buyouts that ended in July. (Read more)

UPDATE 11/19: The future of the Roanoke, Va., AP bureau is in doubt after Sue Lindsey, the only reporter at the bureau was one of the employees let go Wednesday. Lindsey told Duncan Adams of The Roanoke Times that she didn't know what the AP's plans for the bureau were. Lindsey had been with the bureau since 2005 and led the AP coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech University shootings. (Read more)

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