Columbia Daily Tribune makes cuts

Friday, February 6, 2009 | 5:56 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Daily Tribune said a drop in advertising revenue has forced it to eliminate positions in recent months and some additional jobs may be cut.

"Like every other business, we are targeting some positions for potential elimination based on what's happening (with the economy)," Associate Publisher Vicki Russell said.

Russell said the paper had eliminated "a few" of its approximately 260 full-time or equivalent employees in late 2008, including, she thought, one in editorial and "some in production." She said she did not know the exact number.

Managing Editor Jim Robertson said the newsroom has chosen not to fill 2 1/2 vacant positions over the past year.

Russell said the newspaper's management was trying to systematically search for places to cut back.

"We are talking with our employees about possible changes, and we are trying to be very open in our communication with them," Russell said. "I don't want to create the impression that every week we're going to have a new bloodbath."

"Where we believe we can downsize and not hurt our product, we will do it," Russell said. "Where we will go from here totally depends on the economy."

Russell said revenue from employment ads had dropped as MU and other local employers stopped hiring and retail advertising had also slipped, with two major retailers and advertisers — Circuit City and Linens n' Things — falling off the map entirely.

Russell said the Tribune's significant commercial printing operation had so far escaped the worst of the economic downturn.

"That side of our business happily has not seen the kind of changes that are happening in newspaper advertising," Russell said.

Russell said advances in technology had helped render some jobs obsolete.

"We're working very hard to make sure that any jobs that are eliminated are not jobs related to the information we provide every day at our newspaper or the quality of our work," Russell said.

"While the economy is taking its toll on one side, we see opportunities in other areas," Russell said. She said that, despite the cutbacks, the paper had already hired three new employees as part of a project scheduled to launch within the next four to six weeks. She would not describe the project.



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Charles Dudley Jr February 8, 2009 | 1:19 p.m.

Their online community forum A.K.A. Trib Board is also closing at the end of the month due to their new lay out they are using now which allows users to comment on local stories but not the national ones.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand February 8, 2009 | 2:43 p.m.

". . . with two major retailers and advertisers — Circuit City and Linens n' Things — falling off the map entirely."

Yes, but with another -- Dick's -- coming in.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr February 8, 2009 | 3:33 p.m.

From the FreeTalkColumbia Yahoo! Group:

>>> If you are 40 or over don't even think of applying for work at Dick's Sporting Goods. While filling out the application you are asked 4 to 5 times to check a box showing if you are over age 40. You are also asked your birthdate several times. When I was interviewed I was discouraged from having any interest in a job by being told the pay was low, hours low and that all full time jobs are filled. Definite age discrimination.

Also, beware. You are handed an application that you think is a job application but it turns out to be an application for their credit card. Pretty sneaky and underhanded. I called tonight to cancel it.

I know I will never shop there. I find their practices disgusting. <<<

Seems Dick's might be trying to pull unpopular tricks in the employment processes.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin February 8, 2009 | 4:06 p.m.

I set something up a while back called "The Beat Board" and hearing the news that the Tribune is closing Trib Board, I returned to it today and tinkered a bit with it.

It's the same moderated format, with a few more categories, and users can add their own material. Users can sign on with whatever handle they currently use.

Check it out at:

The Beat Board, from the Columbia Heart Beat

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro February 8, 2009 | 4:10 p.m.

Walmart, Target, Gerbes, restaurants, bars and pretty much every retailer at the mall would rather hire young College and High School grads over wiser adults, especially in this "college town."
And if you are a youngish black woman, businesses get brownie points from EOE on two accounts. (Racial and gender brownie points.)
I commend "Dick's" for being more obvious about age discrimination, as not to give us older set false hopes, and encourage no one over 40 to ever shop there.
I also wish the younger set good luck in handling the expense incurred from their new found "Dick's" credit card.
Personaly, I prefer patronizing establishments where I see older people working. Unfortunately, the Schwan's man is too expensive and I am no longer in the market for a good haberdashery.

(Report Comment)

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