Journal Sentinel looks to reduce staff

Here is a story that was posted on JSonline.com about what’s happening at the Journal Sentinel in the future.

Journal Sentinel Inc. said today it is offering employee buyouts in the hope of reducing its work force by 35 to 50 people.

The company said if not enough employees take the offer, an “involuntary program” will be considered.

Elizabeth Brenner, president and chief operating officer of the publishing group of Journal Communications (JRN) Inc., said the employee reductions are necessary because of falling revenue. In recent years, the Journal Sentinel and other newspapers have been losing revenue to Internet-based advertising. She said gains in online advertising at the newspaper aren’t strong enough yet to replace traditional advertising revenue.

“It is never easy to call for staff cutbacks, but we must continue to align our cost structure with the realities of reduced revenues in the newspaper industry,” Brenner said in a statement to employees.

Effective immediately, full-time employees of Journal Sentinel Inc. with 10 years of service or more as of Oct. 26 are eligible to apply. The company said it anticipates that between 35 and 50 employees, or 3.5% to 5% of the Journal Sentinel’s full-time staff, will accept the buyout offer. That number may change depending on the number of employees who apply and are accepted. The separation date is on or about Nov. 15.

The buyouts will include cash severance and temporary health care coverage.

A memo on the voluntary separation program distributed to newsroom employees said participants will receive two weeks of pay for every full year of service and two months of paid medical care benefits, not including dental and vision.

Non-newsroom employees would receive 1 1/2 weeks of current base salary for every year of service and six months of paid health benefits, also not including dental and vision.

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