San Diego Union-Tribune Cuts 192 Staff Positions

We all knew it was coming: Pink slips were handed out at the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday. The paper just completed its transfer from the Copley family to its new owners at Platinum Equity Monday.

In a statement released at 2 p.m. Thursday, The San Diego Union-Tribune confirmed the cuts: 

"The San Diego Union-Tribune has begun a restructuring designed to stabilize the cost structure of the business. The restructuring includes staff cutbacks in all departments, effective July 6. A total of 192 positions will be eliminated. Affected employees were notified today by senior management."

At least 40 were cut in the newsroom, according to our media partner the One former employee of the paper told that the total number of newsroom employees let go Thursday is more than 50.

Two newsroom employees confirmed to the North County Times Thursday that at least a handful of journalists and an apparently large but unspecified number of other employees both in the newsroom and elsewhere at the newspaper were affected.

The newsroom layoffs include editorial, reporters photographers, newsroom layout people, copy editors, etc. Most of the reporters appear to be feature writers. However, one person in the UT newsroom told that two of the reporters let go Thursday cover news. One covers courts and the other covers breaking news for the website.

The employees cut will receive transition assistance and employee termination benefits, according to the paper's media release.

Under a headline "Mass Layoffs," the alternative weekly CityBeat names specific sections affected by the cuts. They said Night & Day, as well as Our San Diego, and the business and sports sections were targeted.

The paper had close to 1,000 employees a couple of years ago. Recent waves of layoffs and buyouts have reduced that number by several hundred, the North County Times reported. The most recent round was made public in August and included 76 positions eliminated through buyouts.

In a January 2008 article, Rob Davis with wrote:

"In total, the Union-Tribune's newsroom, once estimated at about 360 employees, has lost at least 51 staffers from the layoffs and two rounds of buyouts."

Platinum Equity, the Beverly Hills investment firm, announced the completion of its acquisition on Monday, ending 80 years of control by the Copley family. The acquisition was announced in mid-March.

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