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Colorado Springs Gazette Lays Off 11 Employees

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The Colorado Springs Gazette, a Freedom Communications Inc. newspaper, laid off 11 employees today, President and Publisher Steve Pope announced.

Seven employees are from the newsroom, three are from circulation and one is from advertising.

Wayne Heilman of the Gazette writes:

The cuts here included seven employees in the newsroom, three in circulation and one in advertising, leaving Colorado Springs’ only daily newspaper with a staff of fewer than 300, Gazette President and Publisher Steve Pope said Friday. The Gazette employed nearly 500 people in early 2007 but has cut its staff through attrition and several rounds of layoffs as competition from online advertising outlets has reduced advertising revenue across the industry.

Deteriorating economic conditions in Colorado Springs, particularly among retailers, auto dealers and the real estate industry, prompted cuts in The Gazette’s budget for 2010, which triggered the layoffs, Pope said during a meeting with employees. The company tried to avoid layoffs through mandatory furloughs, a 5 percent salary cut for all employees and a variety of cost-cutting measures this year, including trimming pages from the printed newspaper, he said.

Freedom has been operating in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since Sept. 1.

I was a staff editor at the newspaper in the mid-80s, when times were good and circulation was growing with the town. But it’s a different story now, as Pam Zubeck writes for the Colorado Springs Independent.

Things are so tight that Colorado Springs’ daily newspaper has relinquished its credentials to cover the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first time it will pass on covering any Olympics with its own personnel since the U.S. Olympic Committee relocated to Colorado Springs in 1977.

The latest Audit Bureau of Circulations report shows the Gazette’s Sunday circulation plunged by 10.6 percent in a 24-month period ending Sept. 30, dropping to 84,265, while the weekday count lost 12 percent to 63,404. Those figures represent average paid circulation at 50 percent or more of the subscription price.

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Written by newscycle

November 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm

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