Another 50 thrown under the bus at the Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch is reducing the size of its newsroom, laying off more than 45 people effective on April 3, management of the newspaper announced today. No foolin’. 

“These are challenging times for many industries, including the newspaper industry,” said John F. Wolfe, publisher and CEO, who explained the changes to the staff. He’s the one who owns five suits. 

“We avoided staff reductions as long as possible long after many other news organizations took such action.”

While the newspaper readership remains strong and stable, Wolfe said the economy and market forces have pushed advertising revenue steadily downward. And advertising revenue provides the majority of funds needed to pay salaries and buy paper and ink.

Editor Benjamin J. Marrison said the newsroom staff reductions will hasten a restructuring of the newsroom to put a sharper focus on local news, local sports, enterprise reporting, and building a more robust online presence at Dispatch.com. Haven’t we heard that before? 

He said the reductions will result in some changes in the news pages in the coming months, which he will explain to readers in his “Inside Story” column as plans for those changes are mapped out.

“We will have a smaller but no less dedicated staff working each day to bring our readers the news of central Ohio,” Marrison said. “Our mission remains the same: to provide compelling, relevant, timely and accurate reports about this community. We’ll be working even harder now to make that happen.”

Maybe there is time for “senior editors” with two suits to get hired on at the Obama comunications/propaganda center for “Fairness.” 

Journalists can feel better knowing that soon, the Dispatch won’t be contributing to global warming. 

Maybe it can be called a hate crime to layoff reporters? 

On another front–the biggest losers in the media game–McClatchy News can’t even get pennies on the dollar for some of the papers they spun off from their horrible investment in Knight-Ridder.

A McClatchy spokesman said the company may not be able to recover $5.3 million owed by newspapers it had sold to companies that have recently filed for Chapter 11. That’s putting it mildly. 

The write-off pushes McClatchy’s fourth-quarter loss to $27 million, or 33 cents per share, up from the $21.7 million loss the company reported in February, according to a regulatory filing late Monday.

The company declined to say which papers still owed it money, but three former McClatchy properties filed for bankruptcy protection this year: The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, owned by Brian Tierney’s Philadelphia Media Holdings, and the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, controlled by the private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners.

The McClatchy stock teeters on the prospect of being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange. You can smell death in the boardroom. 

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