Thursday, July 26, 2007

Coco Times, ANG to reduce news staff

The Contra Costa Times and the ANG newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, will reduce the size of their newsroom staff as the MediaNews Group-owned papers consolidate, Publisher John Armstrong (pictured) says in a memo to his troops. "It is our hope attrition will cover this reduction, but there is no guarantee that layoffs can be avoided," Armstrong wrote. Today, Armstrong and editors Kevin Keane and Pete Wevurski are meeting with their news staff. Armstrong's memo gave no numbers of positions that would be eliminated.

In a separate memo to employees last week, Armstrong said the combined revenues of the Contra Costa, ANG and Hills newspapers and their related products were $245.5 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30 — $21.3 million less than the revenue total in the previous fiscal year, a decline of 8 percent.

During the year, those papers cut their budgets by $16.8 million, he said, which means the papers' profits were reduced by $4.5 million. "Yes, we're still profitable, but that is a substantial decline in financial performance, one that we cannot afford to repeat in the fiscal year that started July 1," Armstrong wrote.

Armstrong also said the broadsheet papers will soon become one-half inch narrower in order to save on paper. The Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus and San Mateo County Times convert to the narrower size next Tuesday and the Contra Costa Times and its sister editions, Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Tri-Valley Herald and San Joaquin Herald on Aug. 6. [Armstrong's Wednesday memo] [Armstrong's July 20 "How We're Doing" memo]

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