Updated: February 18, 2012 8:11AM
The Chicago Tribune told newsroom employees Monday it will begin offering voluntary buyouts “to reduce costs as we face the continued financial pressures from a weak economy and structural changes in our industry,” the Tribune is reporting.
The newspaper, which is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, confirmed the program in a statement Monday afternoon. It said it’s offering buyouts to newsroom staff members “who may be at a point in their careers or personal lives where this option would be attractive.”
“The voluntary program puts some choice in the hands of employees,” the statement said.
According to a story on the Tribune’s website, Editor Gerry Kern sent out a memo outlining the buyout offer. It said the buyouts will be open to all editorial staff except top departmental management.
“We begin the year with a need to reduce costs as we face the continued financial pressures from a weak economy and structural changes in our industry,” Kern said in his memo. “We are committed to taking action quickly, thoughtfully and fairly.”
According to the Tribune, Kern’s memo did not rule out layoffs, saying “we prefer to meet our financial goals entirely through this voluntary plan, but other actions may be required.”
The buyout offer, according to the Tribune, includes two weeks of base pay for the first year of service, and one week for every additional year completed. Buyout volunteers will likely exit between Feb. 10 and Feb. 24, the Tribune reported.
While the buyout offer is specific to the Chicago Tribune newsroom, the newspaper’s statement said other departments are taking action to reduce costs and improve performance.
Contributing: Jon Seidel