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Tribune Co. to cut 700 jobs in restructuring

Tribune Co. is parent company Chicago Tribune | Sun-Times file photo

Tribune Co. is parent company of the Chicago Tribune | Sun-Times file photo

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Updated: December 23, 2013 2:19PM

Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, is cutting 700 jobs as it restructures to centralize non-editorial functions for its newspapers, the Tribune reported Wednesday.

That’s about 6 percent of the publishing workforce throughout the company’s eight newspapers, but it does not appear to hit the newspapers’ reporting staffs.

Sources said 12 editorial employees were let go early Wednesday afternoon at the Chicago Tribune, but no reporters or photographers. The cuts appeared to be focused on editors, sources said.

Other Tribune newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and the Orlando Sentinel.

The company will streamline advertising, marketing, digital strategy, human resources and manufacturing and distribution for its newspapers instead of having all of those functions spread nationwide.

“Creating these critical efficiencies and ensuring the long-term strength of our mastheads will, unfortunately, result in the selective reduction of our publishing staff,” CEO Peter Liguori said in a memo.

The restructuring has been anticipated as part of the Tribune Co.’s preparations to spin off its publishing business and focus on expanding its television business. The spinoff is expected to take place some time within the first six months of 2014, company executives have said.

Liguori said in the memo that reorganizing the non-editorial areas of the company by function, rather than by geography, will allow Tribune Co. to operate more efficiently and maintain its local focus.

Bill Adee, currently senior vice president of digital development and operations for the Chicago Tribune, was named head of a new digital unit for Tribune Publishing.

The restructuring, which takes effect Jan. 1, “is especially important as we invest more concertedly in our digital areas so we can get ahead of the quickly evolving, digital needs of our readers,” according to Liguori’s memo.

The Tribune Co. cut 240 jobs companywide in its latest fiscal quarter that ended Sept. 29 as revenues continued to decline, according to a financial filing issued Nov. 11, and Liguori said at the time that the results “did not meet our expectations.”

Though the publishing division is profitable, its revenues dropped 8 percent, or $62 million, in the first nine months of the fiscal year compared with the same period in 2012, the Tribune Co. reported in its last financial report.

The company, which exited bankruptcy in January, had cut 360 jobs companywide in the first nine months of the fiscal year before Wednesday’s announcement of the additional 700 cuts, and had cut 800 publishing positions last year.

The restructuring included several promotions besides Adee’s, internal memos showed, including:

• Bob Fleck, senior vice president for advertising at the Chicago Tribune, will become executive vice president of advertising for Tribune Publishing;

• Joseph Schlitz, senior vice president of marketing and targeted media for the Chicago Tribune, will become senior vice president, marketing and targeted media for Tribune Publishing.

• Bill Nagel, executive vice president for business services at the Los Angeles Times, was promoted to executive vice president of marketing for Tribune Publishing;

• Russ Newton, senior vice president of operations and home delivery for Los Angeles Times Media, will become senior vice president of manufacturing for Tribune Publishing.

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