Houston Chronicle begins layoffs

March 24, 2009 5:56:33 PM PDT
The Houston Chronicle is laying off about 12 percent of its work force. [FIND A JOB: See listings for jobs around the Houston area]
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In a story posted Tuesday on the Chronicle's Web site, Publisher Jack Sweeney blamed the cuts on the troubles of the newspaper industry, though he noted that all kinds of companies are being forced to slash expenses.

Sweeney did not specify how many jobs are to be cut or what departments they serve. Laid-off workers will receive two weeks of pay for each year of service, up to one year's pay. The employees also will be offered career transition services.

The Chronicle is owned by privately held Hearst Corp., which last week stopped printing the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and moved it online only. Hearst also has threatened to close the San Francisco Chronicle unless it can make deep cuts.

Last month, another Hearst newspaper in Texas, the San Antonio Express-News, imposed a 15 percent staff cut, eliminating 135 jobs, and left 30 open positions unfilled.

The Houston Chronicle has reduced its staff at other times in recent years, including a round in 2004 that eliminated 243 jobs, nearly 10 percent of its work force, through voluntary buyouts, elimination of open positions and layoffs.

In the six-month period ending last Sept. 30, the Chronicle's average weekday circulation was 448,271, ranking it as the ninth-largest daily in the United States, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The figure was down 12 percent from the prior year. Sunday circulation in the same period was 584,164, seventh in the U.S. but down 16 percent from the prior year.

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