August is already proving to be another grim month for newspapers, as four papers announced today they were planning severe cost-cutting measures.
- The Red Wing Republican Eagle in Red Wing, MN, is reducing their weekday publication to a twice-weekly edition starting next month. Apparently, this cost-cutting plan will allow the paper to cover more local news. Like all newspapers that have recently decreased their circulation, they have promised to provide breaking news updates online.
- The Oregonian said they will force staffers to take an additional six days of unpaid leave, bringing the total number of unpaid days for the paper’s employees to ten. In March, publisher Frank Stickel required employees to take four days of unpaid leave in addition to pay cuts and pension freezes.
- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat and its affiliate weekly Petalumas Argus-Courier, both northern California papers owned by the New York Times Co., have been ordered by publisher Bruce Kyse to cut the payroll by 10 percent. Layoffs are imminent, as are reduced salaries and buyouts.
On a more positive note, a special analysis conducted by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America found today that newspaper Web sites attracted more than 70 million unique viewers in June. Good thing, since LedeObserver predicts these four newspapers will soon fold despite their cost-cutting plans.
But readers needn’t worry too much —breaking news updates will probably be available online. Even though the Republican Eagle is already requiring reader registration to view them.