by Lauren Gard
Come fall, the Chronicle's masthead will be 25 percent shorter. "Eighty reporters, photographers, copy editors, and others, as well as 20 employees in management positions are expected to be laid off by end of the summer," the paper reported today. It doesn't exactly come as a surprise - the San Jose Mercury News laid of dozens of newsroom employees late last year, and the Los Angeles Times announced last month that as many as seventy newsroom employees will soon be shown the door. Chron publisher Frank Vega said in the article that the trim has "nothing to do with the cost of Hearst's purchase of it seven years ago, nor has the paper felt any impact from the recent purchase of the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times by MediaNews, which gave the Denver corporation control of most other large daily papers in the Bay Area."
On his blog , Reflections of a Newsosaur, former Chron editor Alan D. Mutter predicts that more trouble lies ahead. "Although the staff reductions will save an estimated $8 million a year in payroll, the amount will cover barely a third of the approximately $25 million that industry experts believe the Chronicle lost in just the first four months of 2007," he wrote in a must-read post Saturday that lends a great deal of insight into the newspaper's trials.
If you're a Chron staffer yearning to share your two cents (about something other than that poor pair of whales, that is), please, go right ahead...