Bloomberg News

Tribune Chief Zell to Cut Newspaper, Corporate Jobs

February 13, 2008

Tribune Co. Chief Executive Officer Sam Zell said he will cut jobs at the media company's publishing division and corporate office as newspaper revenue declines.

Tribune will eliminate about 400 to 500 jobs, or 2 percent of its workforce, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site, citing publisher David Hiller. The newspaper is published by Chicago-based Tribune. Of those cuts, as many as 150 will come from the Times in March, representing 4.2 percent of the newspaper's workforce, said spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan.

Most of the job cuts will be in the finance, human resources and technology departments of Tribune newspapers. The reductions will create a ``flatter organizational structure,'' Zell said today in an e-mail to employees that was confirmed by spokesman Gary Weitman. Zell didn't specify in the letter how many jobs may be eliminated.

Newspaper revenue is expected to continue to fall, while sales from the company's television stations and the Internet are increasing, Zell said. The cuts won't come from Tribune's 23 broadcast television stations or its interactive group.

``A weak economy and significant declines in advertising volume at our newspapers are putting downward pressure on our cash flow,'' Zell wrote. Cash flow will be comparable to that of 2007 ``going forward,'' he said, without being specific.

About 40 to 50 positions will be cut from the Los Angeles Times newsroom, the newspaper reported.

Chicago Tribune

Roughly 100 positions, or about 3.5 percent, will be eliminated in March at the group that includes the Chicago Tribune, publisher Scott Smith said in an e-mail to employees.

Revenue at the Chicago Tribune Media Group fell 5 percent in January and advertising sales declined by a ``double-digit'' percentage, Smith said. Cash flow in January fell ``substantially more than the 8 percent decline'' in 2007.

``The near term outlook shows few signs of improvement,'' Smith said.

Tribune's debt increased to about $12 billion after Zell and a group of investors took the company private in December. The publisher owns the Chicago Tribune and television stations in Long Island, New York, south Florida, Baltimore and Hartford.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leon Lazaroff in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at

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