The Baltimore Sun yesterday laid off at least 15 editorial-side staffers, including the copy desk chief and a deputy managing editor.
A reporter called the layoffs “unprecedented” at the Sun because of the number of people asked, at one time, to essentially leave the paper against their will.
Until this point, said general assignment reporter Gus Sentementes, the cutbacks at the Sun have come mostly in the form of buyouts, “so that, at the end of the day, they were essentially ‘voluntary.'”
“The people who remained, remained because they wanted to do the work, because they’ve been in the profession for years, because they can’t do anything else,” said Sentementes, who is also a volunteer for the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild.
When those people were told to leave yesterday, he said, “it was very emotional.”
* Baltimore Business Journal and Daily Record coverage here.
* John McIntyre’s farewell on his blog.
* Editor & Publisher article saying “the exodus of editors is expected to reach 20.”
* For David Simon’s comments on his Facebook page, read on.
Sun staff knew the layoffs were coming, but the announcement still left many in shock, perhaps also because of the brusque manner in which longtime editors and reporters were literally shown the door.
“All editors were told to leave the building immediately. A security guard was stationed on the skywalk between the building and the employee parking garage,” according to dcrtv.com.
The list of laid-off editorial-side employees includes:
Chief of the copy desk, John McIntyre, Deputy Managing Editor Paul Moore, Editorial Page Editor Ann LoLordo, Op-Ed Editor Larry Williams, and editors and reporters on the metro desk, sports desk and other areas. The bureau chiefs for three bureaus that have been eliminated over the past year (Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties) were also laid off.
According to a source, editor Monty Cook addressed the staff about the layoffs late in the day.
“He expressed regret, and said the move was forced by declining ad revenues at The Sun, and not within Tribune at large,” the source said.
No return call yet from management, as employees wait for the other shoe to drop – the rumored elimination, next, of some of Guild-covered positions.
This just in from David Simon’s Facebook page:
“[I am] revulsed at what has happened at the Baltimore Sun this week. i really don’t know who Monty Cook is or what he stands for as the editor in chief, but before I asked the likes of Ann LoLordo or Eileen Canzian to leave the building — people who given their working lives to that institution — I would scratch together enough integrity to refuse and be fired my ownself.
It’s almost unfathomable. The Baltimore newspaper’s only plan is slow suicide, with Chicago leeching the last nickels and dimes even to the moment when they shutter the doors. Never has an industry so willingly butchered itself or shown its own product such contempt.”