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Some of the Union-Tribune staffers having a terrible day

May 7, 2009 - 4:02 pm

With  at least 40 newsroom staffers laid off at the Union-Tribune today, the names of those who are now unemployed range from well-known bylines to behind the scenes newsroom staff. The list below list isn’t complete, but it’s as complete as CityBeat can get from sources in and out of the newsroom right now:

Beth Barber (editorial writer)
Trish Bar (features)
Jane Clifford (former family editor)
Penni Crabtree (Business),
Mike Crowell (Night & Day editor)
Mike Franklin (photo editor)
Henry Fuentes (letters editor)
Greg Gross (breaking news team)
Ray Huard (courts reporter)
Bruce Huff (photo editor)
Margaret King (food, Quest)
Janet Lavelle (North County coast editor)
Chris Lavin (General manager, Lifestyles & entertainment)
Jacie Landeros (graphic artist)
Kathy Lubinski (layout)
John Lydon (news copy chief)
Jerry McCormick (copy editor)
Pat McGrath (formerly TV Week)
Crissy Pascual (photographer)
Pauline Repard (police reporter)
Lola Sherman (Oceanside reporter)
Jonathan Sidener (business)
Charlie Smith (business editor)
Dan Trevan (photographer)
Jennifer Vigil (reporter)
Updated: Ken Williams, (copy editor)

In addition, sources tell CityBeat that three staffers were laid off from the Union-Tribune‘s spanish language publication Enlace, plus voiceofsandiego.org‘s Rob Davis is reporting Lee Grant (arts critic) also lost his job today.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2009 - 5:02 pm 5:02 pm

    Staggering. Truly. Law of diminishing returns has to apply here?

  2. May 7, 2009 - 5:40 pm 5:40 pm

    It’s truly devastating the read the list of UT staffers who were laid off. These were colleagues of mine when I used to write for the Union-Tribune, so it’s hard to watch such a talented group of journalists being ushered out the door.

  3. Jacinto Ortega permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 5:44 pm 5:44 pm

    This is very juicy news since I’ve never been a fan of the Union Tribune. Still, how exactly can it function with 40-50 fewer staff in the newsroom? Who will write the news? The interns?

    At least this will be an interesting saga.

    • SuzyQ permalink
      May 7, 2009 - 10:44 pm 10:44 pm

      What I want to know is when will the tools responsible for the demise of paper get laid off. You have a circulation director who for numerous years has seen circulation drop – yet he gets promoted to executive and VP. Then you have another tool responsible for advertising who has seen revenue drop for years – yet he too keeps getting promoted. Let’s see what else. Oh! You have an intern who was still wet behind the ears become marketing director without the qualifications. I can go on and on….This company is so badly mismanaged it’s almost comical.

      • Jake permalink
        May 8, 2009 - 2:35 pm 2:35 pm

        Winner must be counting her days as editor. Kittle said on KPBS this morning that the paper is expanding online but can’t figure out how to make money in that venue? He feels newspapers are the “best value” readers have for news, because advertisers underwrite the paper. If that’s management’s perspective at the UT it’s no wonder they continue to fall behind.

  4. May 7, 2009 - 5:57 pm 5:57 pm

    Sad, sad, sad. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a surge of 20-somethings who will be giving us what passes for the news. In the meantime, what happens to these seasoned journalists in their prime?

  5. David Butler permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 7:17 pm 7:17 pm

    I know exactly how yo save newspapers. Sen me $50,000 and I’ll teach it to you.

  6. Ken in San Diego permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 7:19 pm 7:19 pm

    You can add my name to the list of job cuts:

    Ken Williams, copy editor

  7. Mondo permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 7:22 pm 7:22 pm

    Six munce ago I could nott spel reporter. Now I are one.

  8. Mondo permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 7:33 pm 7:33 pm

    The principal behind Platinum is an Israeli, so you can expect that large numbers of Israeli’s seeking to exit Israel with US green cards will eventually wind up working at the U-T.

    • Jean permalink
      May 7, 2009 - 9:12 pm 9:12 pm

      Your anti-semitism just cost you any credibility you had, which wasn’t much to begin with.

  9. Tom Gable permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 8:56 pm 8:56 pm

    Hard to imagine how they are going to cover local news and have great editing/copy-editing for fine tuning given these cuts. Some great talent here that I’ve long admired as a recovering UT journalist.

  10. corky permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 8:57 pm 8:57 pm

    These guys and gals can all work for free at that new online venture that doesn’t pay anyone!

  11. May 7, 2009 - 10:42 pm 10:42 pm

    Condolences for all those who lost their jobs, especially in this economy.

    The business and North County sections, which I pay most attention to, lost some especially good people. Some lucky company, inside or outside journalism, will benefit from hiring them.

  12. SuzyQ permalink
    May 7, 2009 - 10:45 pm 10:45 pm

    What I want to know is when will the tools responsible for the demise of paper get laid off. You have a circulation director who for numerous years has seen circulation drop – yet he gets promoted to executive and VP. Then you have another tool responsible for advertising who has seen revenue drop for years – yet he too keeps getting promoted. Let’s see what else. Oh! You have an intern who was still wet behind the ears become marketing director without the qualifications. I can go on and on….This company is so badly mismanaged it’s almost comical. Kenneth Lay of Enron would have done a better job…to bad he’s not looking for a job anymore.

    • David Butler permalink
      May 8, 2009 - 2:45 pm 2:45 pm

      Check the price of paper lately? Twenty years ago it was almost as big an overhead as payroll. Time to reformat and go digital. Papers have always made their $ from ads. Why should that change?

  13. J Lamb permalink
    May 8, 2009 - 8:36 am 8:36 am

    Could the rumor I heard be true as well? Was Burl Stiff given the heave-ho? Oh my, what will high society do now for its craven publicity? Oh well, off I go for my morning constitution of a Startini followed by hors d’oeuvres of goat cheese with basil and tear-drop tomatoes, a chicken and herb roulade with tomato aioli, and Belgian endive with salmon mousse, a salad of arugula, sliced strawberries, figs, candied walnuts and shaved asiago in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette, followed by a main course of petite filet mignon and a Maryland lump crab cake with a cracked peppercorn hollandaise. *Sigh*

  14. Jacinto Ortega permalink
    May 8, 2009 - 9:07 am 9:07 am

    No editor with any common sense would keep Burl Stiff. Or Bowtie Kittle either. The UT laid off 7 janitors yesterday, which means maybe Stiff and Kittle wisely will be reassigned to custodial work.

    Seriously, why did the UT need to employ 7 janitors?

    The UT reported yesterday that after 192 staff are laid off, about 850 will remain. That means it now takes about 1,042 workers to publish that flimsy newspaper. I’m starting to suspect that the UT has too many unproductive workers and that those layoffs are merited.

    It’s not the quantity of workers but the quality of their work that matters. Let’s see if the UT stops publishing a lot of drivel and focuses more on worthy news.

  15. SomeReader permalink
    May 8, 2009 - 10:19 am 10:19 am

    Interesting that none of the editors in glass offices took a hit. I guess sitting in meetings all day provides a valuable service to readers.

    • David Butler permalink
      May 8, 2009 - 2:46 pm 2:46 pm

      The whole business is next to go. The bigs guys will fall too. Even further.

  16. Ron Ham permalink
    May 8, 2009 - 6:35 pm 6:35 pm

    I worked in U-T newsrooms for 21 years before I retired, and hearing that all these hard-working, knowledgeable, civic-minded journalists were being fired nearly made me cry. They are not faceless members of the media but real people who now must try to get a job in an era that’s turning its back on them.

    My brother, a city editor on another newspaper, fears for the future of America because one of its foundations is being gutted. I am more optimistic but I’m not sure if news Web sites can take up the slack; does anyone know?

    My prayers and best wishes to all the U-T staffers who are losing their jobs through no fault of their own — and who are losing opportunities to make this a better country.

    • Jake permalink
      May 8, 2009 - 8:03 pm 8:03 pm

      Ron,
      My employer made an extended effort to make reforms in our business plans from the bottom up. Employees were rewarded for cutting costs and making quality improvements in the services we delivered. This required buy in from the board of directors.
      Does the news industry encourage employees to take a role in systemic improvements of their industry? Are there really no role models? I often see best practices at other newspapers and their web sites, but don’t know which ones have a financial payoff for employees and their companies.

  17. tom permalink
    May 10, 2009 - 11:24 am 11:24 am

    The sad part is that the wrong people were let go. Blame for the demise of the UT franchise falls squarely on the shoulders of upper mangement who were too concerned with maintaining status quo and personal quality of work life and did not pay attention or have the business acquemen to make the correct business decisions.

    The paper has know for over 10 years that the days of a printed paper were numbered. In stead of embracing the digital world by listening to those who truly understood the medium, they took advice from a few internal no nothings who, again, were more interested in personal job secuitry a
    than making the right decisions.

    They has a shot at success and leadership spot in the newspaper industry and simpy blew it out of ingnorance and greed. The ones that should be fired are still there!

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