MediaFile

More Tribune layoffs coming? Not yet.

June 5, 2008

When we saw a memo hit the blogs this week saying that more Tribune layoffs could be coming, we put the reporting machinery into motion — only to find out that apparently it’s not true.

While future layoffs are perhaps inevitable, the latest memo authored by Chief Executive Sam Zell turned out to not be “latest” at all.

The subject line, which you can see at the Los Angeles Times Pressmens 20 Year Club, says “Reducing staff,” always a promising sign of news. Then there was this:

It is within this context that I am announcing we must reduce the number of staff positions within the publishing group and corporate office through a combination of voluntary separation programs, involuntary layoffs, attrition and closing of open positions. Each of our newspapers is making its own decision about which programs best suit its needs.

But here’s the thing. When we checked with Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman, he noted the similarity between this memo and one Zell had written in February. In fact, it’s the same memo, Weitman said, but with a June 2 date now. A source at one of Tribune’s papers who is not necessarily a friend of management confirmed that the memo is from February.

We’re asking our other Trib sources elsewhere in the empire to see if they got anything more recently, especially as Zell gets ready to update lenders on Tribune’s financial status this afternoon. We’re also waiting to hear back from Padgett and from Fading to Black, a death-of-newspapers site that picked up Padgett’s post.

(Photo: Reuters)

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