Third Round of Staff Cuts at the AJC


From the AJC (reprinted for informational purposes):

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Wednesday it will cut its full-time news staff by about 90 people, or nearly 30 percent, to lower costs as it tries to regain profitability amid a severe revenue slump.

The company also announced it will eliminate distribution to seven more outlying counties, reducing its circulation area to 20 metro Atlanta counties, effective April 26. The cutback will pare daily and Sunday circulation by 2 percent.

The AJC’s news staff will drop to about 230 full-time positions, down from about 323 currently. Staff members with five or more years with the company will be offered voluntary buyouts, with layoffs to follow if they don’t achieve the targeted cuts, the company said.

Most of the news staff cuts “will be in production and management, allowing us to keep as many news reporters as possible,” AJC and editor Julia Wallace said.

The cuts are expected to be completed in May.

The company laid off 48 part-time news staffers Tuesday and announced the full-time cuts Wednesday morning.

The moves come amid “unprecedented pressures on advertising revenues and the struggling economy,” the company said in a press release.

“The AJC has taken an aggressive approach in changing our business model to ensure long-term viability,” Publisher Doug Franklin said in the release.

“We must reduce costs and become a smaller organization. Today’s announcements are the first in a series of initiatives we’ll announce over the next 90 days to reduce costs,” added Franklin, who was installed as the newspaper’s top executive in January.

It is the third and largest round of job cuts for the AJC news staff, which numbered about 500 in 2006. The first came in 2007 with buyouts for retirement-eligible staff members, followed by a broader buyout in mid-2008.

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