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.