Mass Layoffs at SD-UT

SD-UT (Nathan Rupert / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Nathan Rupert / Flickr / CC / Cropped

San Diego Union-Tribune employees are suffering 178 layoffs this week resulting from May’s announced sale of the newspaper from Doug Manchester to multi-news outlet owner of the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing.

The announcement follows the prompt reinstatement of the San Diego Union-Tribune name that followed the paper’s purchase. Under Manchester the paper had been renamed U-T San Diego.

Layoffs come primarily in the printing, distribution and advertising departments, Los Angeles-area public radio station KPCC noted in its report on the layoffs. Those operations will be consolidated outside of San Diego with the Times’ facilities in L.A.

Some of the laid off employees may be invited to compete for jobs in the L.A. facilities. Additional national publications are printed at the L.A. facility, according to the Tribune.

Of the 178 San Diegans who lost their jobs in the layoff, the Tribune details:

In all, 100 operations employees, consisting mostly of truck drivers, machinists, electricians, packagers and pressroom workers, were among those laid off Tuesday. Other large staff reductions occurred in circulation, where 29 employees were cut, and in advertising sales and finance, which together saw their departments reduced by 36.

Within the newsroom, nine of its 173 staff members were let go, almost all of them working for U-T TV.

U-T TV’s launch was announced by the paper in June 2012. Netnewscheck noted the $3 million investment and its 60-employee increase to a 160-person newsroom. The venture failed to live up to cable broadcast expectations, and scaled back heavily just two years later in 2014. The San Diego Reader reported some 20-25 of 45 employees would be cut while noting that may have been an optimistic estimate.

The Tribune quoted Editor Jeff Light who asserted to readers there would be no obvious impact from the current 178 job cut.

Manchester owned the news outlet for a short four years. He bought the paper in 2011 for $110 million and sold to Tribune Publishing in 2015 for $85 million. As part of the deal that allows Manchester to come out ahead to the tune of approximately $13 million, he retains ownership of $43.6 million in Mission Valley real estate.

The Times was first published in 1881.

The San Diego Union-Tribune holds a long legacy in San Diego. Formed with the merging of the San Diego Union and the Evening Tribune in 1992, the paper claims the title of oldest newspaper in Southern California. The San Diego Union dates back to October 10, 1868, the Evening Tribune to December 2, 1895.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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