Citing “significant financial pressure,” the Chicago Tribune announced a round of layoffs Thursday designed to restructure its city and suburban newsroom operations.
Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Tribune, called the move “an extraordinarily difficult decision,” and thanked the employees affected “for the contributions they have made to the Chicago Tribune, our suburban newspapers and our other publications.”
The precise number of job cuts was not specified, but sources said a total of 14 positions were eliminated, mainly on the editorial side of the Tribune and its Pioneer Press suburban group. Some also were in the areas of media operations and in manufacturing and distribution.
“As we make significant strides in transitioning the Chicago Tribune for a stronger digital future, supporting our award-winning journalism and great public service remains the heart of what we do,” Marisa Kollias, vice president of communications and public relations for parent company tronc, said in a statement.
“To ensure that the Tribune and its reporters can continue to succeed in a rapidly changing media environment, we are restructuring, refocusing and re-imagining our newsroom. These difficult but necessary decisions, which unfortunately include the elimination of certain positions, set us up for faster innovation and sustainable success while we continue to serve our readers and communities with extraordinary impact and integrity.”
Last month the company notified the Chicago News Guild that it planned to cut five positions from the 20-person editorial staff of Pioneer Press. Staffers were offered buyouts prior to the layoffs announced Thursday.
Here is the text of Dold’s memo to staff:
The news industry continues to face significant financial pressure. We are not immune to that pressure.
We are making significant strides toward establishing a business model that will allow us to grow as we transition our newsroom for a digital audience. We do all of this with the focus on supporting our award-winning journalism.
Today we have notified a number of employees that their positions have been eliminated. This is an extraordinarily difficult decision. I want to thank those employees for the contributions they have made to the Chicago Tribune, our suburban newspapers and our other publications.
And I want to thank all of you for the work you do to affirm and enhance our position as the most influential and impactful news organization in Chicago and the Midwest.
We are seeing results. Our digital subscriber base is growing. We are drawing new advertisers who find that we can help them to build their businesses through our digital products. I’m heartened by the conversations I have every day with readers and advertisers. They feel a deep connection to us and to our work. They dearly want us to succeed.
We have more work to do to complete our digital transformation. Those efforts will accelerate in the months ahead.
I am confident that with our outstanding talent we will grow our business, grow our audience and continue to serve our readers and our community with integrity.