Sun averts layoffs as 70 take buyouts

December 03, 2005|BY A SUN REPORTER

The Sun said yesterday that 70 employees will leave the newspaper in a company-wide voluntary buyout program, eliminating the need for layoffs.

The newspaper said last month that it was offering the buyouts, which would be final in January, to reduce costs in response to a sluggish advertising environment and declining revenue.

Seventeen of the job cuts will come from the newsroom, which has a staff of about 350, and a large percentage of those will be among support staff. The company had originally sought 75 total cuts from a work force of about 1,200, but said it had reached its financial target.

Among those taking the buyouts will be editorial cartoonist Kevin P. "KAL" Kallaugher. The newspaper doesn't plan to fill that position in the foreseeable future.

The Tribune Co. of Chicago, The Sun's owner, said yesterday that its revenue for November fell 3.9 percent as advertising sales declined and publishing revenue was hurt by the impact of Hurricane Wilma in Florida, where it owns several media outlets.

The company, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and Newsday, said total monthly revenue fell to $437 million from $455 million in November last year. Publishing revenue slid 2.7 percent to $330 million, with Hurricane Wilma contributing about $4 million of the decline. Ad revenue fell 2.4 percent to $263 million.

Tribune Co. recently reported company-wide circulation declines and a third-quarter profit of $24 million, down 80 percent compared with a year ago as a result of unusual charges.

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