The Chicago Tribune became the latest major newspaper to take a whack at its newsroom. According to Crain's Chicago Business, the paper is cutting 20 percent of the newsroom staff in yet another cost-cutting move brought about the bankruptcy of its parent company, Tribune Co. The paper has about 480 newsroom employees.

To be sure, the paper is hiring to address "emerging growth opportunities" in . . . well publisher Tony Hunter does not explain what he means in a memo obtained by Crain's.

The paper did find room in the budget to hire a new publicity flack. Go figure

This statement reminds me of statements I heard publishing executives make a few years ago. They would blather on an on about the internet. These digital strategies, though, never developed quite the way the companies expected. Papers remain very much in the business of selling print advertising, which is dying fast. Even internet advertising, which is supposed to be the industry's white knight, is declining.

Meanwhile, the publisher of the Albany Times-Union canceled a collective bargaining agreement. The owners of papers in Philadelphia and Minneapolis are in bankruptcy. Sun-Times Media Group (SUTMQ), publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, sought protection from creditors earlier this month. Of course, the New York Times Co. (NYT) has threatened to shutter the Boston Globe unless unions make big concession, a tactic which worked at the Newark Star-Ledger.

The woes of the industry are endless. Paper Cuts estimates that about 8,100 jobs have been lost through layoffs and buyouts so far this year. And the year is far from over

Ironically, shares of Gannet Co. (GCI) soared today for no apparent reason. That burst of enthusiasm probably won't last.

If there a silver lining I am missing, please let me know.




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