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ProJo’s sister paper lays off more than 40

Posted 10/21/09

Update | Belo CFO: Calif. layoffs an isolated event

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Journal’s sister newspaper, The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., laid off between 40 and 45 employees last week, according to a report on its Web site.

The reductions included 16 newsroom employees and were the fourth round of cuts in about a year at the Southern California publication, the paper said.

Both The Press-Enterprise and The Journal are owned by Dallas-based A. H. Belo Corp. Unlike workers at The Journal, Press-Enterprise employees are not represented by a union, according to Securities & Exchange Commission filings.

It was not clear on Wednesday if layoffs are being considered at The Journal or The Dallas Morning News, A. H. Belo’s largest paper. The company’s CEO, Robert W. Decherd, warned in July that more job cuts could be necessary if revenue did not pick up.

Barbara J. Nauman, The Journal’s vice president of circulation, and Alison K. Engel, A. H. Belo’s senior vice president, were not immediately available for comment, nor were representatives of the Providence Newspaper Guild.

The Press Enterprise Co.’s CEO, Ron Redfern, said the paper had to shrink its work force because of declining revenue and falling circulation. The paper is on track to lose $1.4 million this year, he said.

Redfern did not rule out further layoffs at The Press-Enterprise this year and in 2010, but said he hoped that could be avoided.

A. H. Belo is scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings report at the end of the month. Advertising revenue at The Journal fell 32.5 percent in the second quarter compared with 2008, as the decline in the paper’s ad sales continued into its third consecutive year.

A continued drumbeat of layoffs have taken place over the past year and a half in the American newspaper industry as publications have been hit by the double whammy of a steep drop in advertising spending and the migration of readers to the Internet.

The New York Times announced earlier this week that it will cut 100 jobs from its newsroom, despite earlier hopes that reductions could be avoided. Its parent company will announce third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

The Los Angeles Times, whose parent company is in bankruptcy, is also reported to be axing workers this week.

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