Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Lexington paper cutting staff by 15 percent

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Lexington Herald-Leader announced Monday it is laying off 49 full-time employees and cutting the salaries of remaining workers with the news coming on the same day its top editor said she is leaving for a university job.

Linda Austin, who has been editor for two years, said her move was unrelated to the job cuts that were announced Monday on the Herald-Leader’s Web site. Austin, 53, announced she will become director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University in Phoenix.

“This has been a wrenching decision for me — just excruciating because I love working with you guys,” Austin said to about 40 newsroom employees Monday. “But the position that I’m going to is incredibly exciting. It’s giving me an opportunity to have, I think, an impact on a national scale in an arena that I am extremely passionate about — that’s journalism.”

The newspaper began on Monday notifying individual employees affected by the reductions, which account for about 15 percent of the company’s total full-time equivalent employee base.

Publisher Timothy M. Kelly said the staff reductions will occur throughout the paper’s operation.

“The decisions we have had to make have been wrenching because they mean saying goodbye to so many friends and colleagues,” Kelly said. “But we must make these additional cuts to adjust to the new competitive and economic realities and to ensure our continued viability.”

The plan includes a 5 percent wage reduction for employees who make more than $25,000 annually. Newspaper executive pay will be cut by 10 percent and 2009 bonus plans will be eliminated.

Before the staff reductions, the Herald-Leader had 335 full-time equivalent employees. This is the third round of layoffs at the newspaper in the last year. Employees at the paper will also be taking a one-week unpaid furlough in the next year to meet budget demands.

The Herald-Leader’s parent company, The McClatchy Co., said it planned to eliminate 1,600 jobs, or 15 percent of its work force, as it faces declining revenue and a deepening recession.

Four part-time employees will also lose their jobs.

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