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Published: Thursday, 12/11/2008

25 to be laid off by The Blade

BLADE STAFF

Twenty-five employees of The Blade, most of them in the newsroom, will be laid off Dec. 27.

The cuts are needed because of reduced advertising sales in a slowing economy and the likelihood that the newspaper will be required to make a steep contribution to its employee pension plan as a result of stock-market losses, Luann Sharp, assistant managing editor, said yesterday.

Affected employees, including 18 full-time and seven part-time, are represented by the Toledo Newspaper Guild-CWA Local 34043.

The company notified the union on Friday that it planned to make cuts and provided specifics in a meeting yesterday, said Lillian Covarrubias, union president. Some employees will have bumping rights, she said.

All but two of the affected employees are in the newsroom.

The list includes eight full-time reporters, all part-time reporters, and four news support staff members, Ms. Sharp said.

Full-time employees being furloughed are eligible for two weeks of severance pay for every year of service - up to a maximum pay of one year's salary - and health insurance for 12 months.

The moves will cut the newspaper's reporting staff to 36. "We will still be the largest news-gathering organization in northwest Ohio," Ms. Sharp added. The Blade has 420 employees overall.

The actions occur amid tough times for media outlets nationwide. Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week.

Locally, Fox affiliate WUPW-TV Channel 36 discontinued weeknight sportscasts yesterday. Sports anchor Brad Fanning and photographer Adam Meyer were let go as part of 150 job cuts nationwide by station owner LIN TV Corp., of Providence, R.I. WUPW will continue weekend sports programing.

Raycom Media Inc., a television station owner nationally, had staff reductions yesterday in several markets, including six at WTOL-TV Channel 11 in Toledo.

In April, WNWO-TV Channel 24 laid off an unspecified number of reporters, photographers, and editors in a realignment of news operations.



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