OLD Media Moves

Editors leaving N&O with buyout; biz section could be cut

May 14, 2008

About 30 people across The (Raleigh) News & Observer took the company’s buyout offers this week, including five newsroom editors, according to sources at the paper.

That includes assistant business editor Tom Burton and growth editor Kathy Williams. Their last day will be May 23.

News & ObserverThe News & Observer is a McClatchy paper, and the parent company is apparently ordering several millions more in cost cuts at many of its papers. So the N&O is considering layoffs for an unknown number across the company. The rumor among reporters and editors is that might include 25 to 30 staffers from the newsroom.

Executive editor John Drescher told the newsroom Tuesday night that they will know more in two to three weeks.

In response to an e-mail query from Talking Biz News Wednesday, Drescher stated, “At some point Publisher Orage Quarles might make an announcement, but he has not yet. You will have to go to those who accepted the buyout to get confirmation. We are looking at various options to save costs, including tightening our newshole.”

Tightening the newshole might include killing the stand-alone business section, which would allow the paper to save newsprint and production costs, says a newsroom source at the paper. The move would probably involve moving business behind the City & State section, but details are still being developed. And apparently, it’s not a done deal.

However, a similar-sized McClatchy paper, the Sacramento Bee, is expected to soon announce that it’s cutting its standalone section beginning next month.

The News & Observer executives are also looking at combining some features sections, according to those in the newsroom.

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