Bert Caldwell, who writes a column that focuses on Washington and Idaho business issues that runs in the Spokesman-Review business section on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, will no longer be writing that column, according to managing editor Gary Graham.
Graham, responding to a reader who noticed that Caldwell’s column didn’t appear in the Dec. 16 paper, wrote, “Due to economic pressures, the newsroom was forced to lay off 13 of our journalists last month, representing nearly 13 percent of our staff. In addition, eight other journalists accepted a voluntary severance package, further reducing the number of reporters and editors on staff. Two others opted for early retirement. We’ve since been able to rehire five of the people we laid off, but we still have a significantly smaller staff.
“Something had to give. We simply canâ€™t produce the same kind of newspaper that we used to with such a reduction in staff. Our annual reader surveys show that the number one interest and priority of our readers is local news. Staff-produced columns are informative, entertaining and well-written, but they do not provide enough of the kind of news about our community that readers demand on a daily basis. The elimination of the columns allow us to redeploy those writers to report and write more on local news.
“The bylines of our former columnists will not be disappearing from the paper. In fact, most of them will be writing more frequently, just not in the column format.”
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