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S.F. Chronicle to Cut 220 Jobs in Ad Slump

Newspapers: Company says an 8.5% reduction of its work force will be reached through layoffs, voluntary buyouts.

November 28, 2001|Bloomberg News

Hearst Corp.'s San Francisco Chronicle said it plans to cut about 220 jobs because the daily newspaper's advertising sales have declined 20% this year.

The job reductions represent about 8.5% of the paper's 2,600 workers and will be accomplished through layoffs and voluntary buyouts, the company said in a statement.

Chronicle Publisher John Oppedahl said in a memo to the paper's staff that ad revenue this year had fallen 20% and recruitment ads are down 50%. The cutbacks follow similar moves by rivals such as Knight Ridder Inc., the second-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, which said in June that it was eliminating 1,700 jobs because of slumping ad sales.

"We have already dramatically reduced many other operating costs, including promotion and marketing expenses, news hole, newsprint usage and advance press runs," as well as travel and overtime, Oppedahl said in the memo. "While these cost-containment efforts have helped, they are not enough to offset a 20% loss of revenue."

The memo said the layoffs will total more than 100 positions and affect only management and union employees hired after July 27, 2000, when closely held Hearst bought the Chronicle from closely held Chronicle Publishing Co. Laid-off employees may be eligible to be rehired sometime in the future, the memo said.

Less than 20 editorial positions will be cut through layoffs, Chronicle spokesman Joe Brown said.

The Chronicle, with a daily circulation of 512,042, is the largest-circulation newspaper in Northern California and is among the top 20 in the nation.

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