Faced with steep declines in its advertising base, the Charlotte Observer announced a new round of layoffs today — its fourth round of staff cuts in the past year.
The Qcity’s dominant newspaper will reduce staff by 14.6 percent and cut the pay of most remaining employees, it reported on its Web site, Charlotteobserver.com.
The reductions will total about 82 positions companywide — 60 full-time jobs and 22 part-timers. Other employees will see their hours reduced, some by as much as half.
The cuts will include 16 full-time newsroom staffers and 11 part-time workers. Even with the cuts, however, the Observer will remain by far the region’s biggest news-gathering operation.
Like most major newspapers, the Observer is struggling to adjust to an industrywide restructuring that has seen major advertisers follow readers away from print and onto the Internet. The national recession also has taken a bite out of newspaper revenues.
The Observer’s parent company, California-based McClatchy, said this month it would slash 1,600 jobs nationwide and cut salaries to lower operating expenses. Advertising accounts for more than 80 percent of McClatchy’s net revenues, a number that dropped nearly 18 percent to less than $1.6 billion in 2008, according to the company’s 2008 annual report.
Observer employees earning at least $25,000 a year will see their pay cut. Those earning higher salaries will be reduced by a greater percentage, Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins was quoted as saying.