Lee Enterprises Wants to Cut Post-Dispatch Newsroom

Categories: Media, News
papercut.jpg
Paper cuts: Hard to stop the bleeding.
Lee Enterprises is mailing out buyout offers this week to its roughly 150 employees in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newsroom. The Iowa-based parent company of the St. Louis daily has seen its depressed stock price dip impossibly lower this summer and hopes to cut up to ten staff positions inside the newsroom in an effort to curb costs.

Jeff Gordon, a Post-Dispatch sports writer and president of the St. Louis Newspaper Guild, tells Daily RFT that the paper would definitely feel the impact of such a loss. "That's not quite ten percent of the newsroom, but it would be a noticeable chunk," says Gordon.

Gordon adds that the buyout announced this week is especially disappointing as it comes just a couple months after a handful of editorial workers agreed to take a blanket buyout offered to all employees of the paper.

"You look around the industry, and it's the killing fields," observes Gordon. "We've been somewhat fortunate at the Post-Dispatch in that we haven't had forced terminations in the newsroom. But the concern is: Are there enough people left who are willing to leave voluntarily, or are we going to get to the point of mandated firings?"

Under the current buyout proposal, newsroom employees who joined the paper after December 1, 1994, are being offered one week of pay per year employed to leave the company. Those hired before then would get two weeks of pay per year.

Lee Enterprises hopes to complete the buyouts by next month. The Post-Dispatch currently has about 220 to 230 total employees, says Gordon. That's down nearly half from when Lee acquired the paper in 2005. 

H/T: @ericasmith

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14 comments
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steve
steve

now everyone who still reads the Post has commented

Realist
Realist

The Post Dispatch is the worst newspaper in the country and deserves to be gone. These people publish a lousy product, and simply blaming the state of the industry misses the true culprit - a terrible product.

Jeff Gordon as your leader? Proves my point.

Egolterman
Egolterman

Lee had a chance to dramatically change the course of failing St. Louis when they came in.Should have 'called out'  Civic Progress for 'missing' downtown revitalization by a galaxy, set a new course, and not have to let so many go, so often. But, Lee 'bought' the program, were told there wold be no changes, and  they put their publisher on..you guessed it..Civic Progress.

Duke924
Duke924

Kielman you are about as off topic commenting here as you are on stltoday. 

Uncle Fester
Uncle Fester

The whole ballgame for Lee in St. Louis will be the day Bill McClellan says, I'm tired of doing this. When he goes, there will be a circulation falloff unseen since the last newspaper strike.

Uncle Fester
Uncle Fester

Now here,  Kitty!Gossip and claptrap are what the customers want! Freak crap that used to be the domain of the tabloids has gone mainstream. That's why gossip thrives while the Washington bureau gets cut. You've got to get with the times, girl. Or the Post.

KITTY
KITTY

I agree Uncle Foster. However, cutting the boring claptrap of Peterson and Pennington would be cost cutting measures that would help Lee Enterprises financially. Moreover, anyone wanting the very best of gossip should read Jerry Berger's "Berger's Bits" online. He puts Peterson to shame AND HE IS INTERESTING, something that cannot be said for Debbie. Plus, he has over 200,000 followers of his blog. Truth be known that about 195,000 more than those who read those pukey "Little Debbies."

KITTY
KITTY

Lee Enterprises, the little piss ant newspaper publisher from the hoosier state of Iowa, bit off more than it could chew when it bought the Post Dispatch for a price they could ill afford. Newspaper circulation throughout the country has decreased dramatically over the past few years and Lee has taken a hard hit. If Lee is really serious about saving money, the first thing they should do is get rid of Debbie Peterson, the most boring and banal journalist in history. And follow that with another cost cutting measure by getting rid  of the equally non-important clap trap of Gail Pennington whose most important function is publishing celebrity birhdays.

Safeasmilk
Safeasmilk

Well I think it is easy to bash the Post but the truth is that it has a number of capable hard working journalists who are trying to make the best of a situation beyond their control.  And Kitty, I don't know what personal vendetta you have against Deb Peterson (perhaps she caught you doing something that doesn't play well in St. Louis?), but she provides an important view of St. Louis society, and even adheres to ethical standards, unlike some others.

Brichardsonstl
Brichardsonstl

Ha! Good point.  Not to mention the paper sucks -- it's the most one sided paper in America.   Maybe if they were a little more balanced in their reporting, more people would buy it.  I'm not sure I'd even use it to line my bird's cage with.

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

Actually not true. Post reporting has been super fair concerning the issues I've been involved with. Stuff gets in the Post that standard liberal papers won't touch.

Bill Hannegan
Bill Hannegan

Even though I only read the Post online, I subscribe to the print version also in order to do my little bit to keep our only St. Louis paper afloat. I wish something effective could be done. Any ideas?

Fred L
Fred L

Sadly, the Post is in a death spiral. Every time their stock price drops the management cuts employees and content from the paper. This causes sales to go down, the stock drops again, and the cycle continues until the PD is a web-only rag with three employees.I worked in the circulation department of the Globe-Democrat until it folded, now I'm really glad I got out of that industry. 

Tom Boesman
Tom Boesman

If you think this is bad news for the news room there, think of those of us in the industry that have been cut over the past couple of years. Welcome to the world of the long term unemployed. This is a sign of things still to come in our industry. An industry where upper management is clueless, and could care less.

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