Advertiser to lay off 27 as it consolidates divisions
The Honolulu Advertiser is cutting 27 additional jobs as it consolidates Pacific Media Publications into its main operation, bringing the total number of job cuts announced since July to 81. Nationally, Virginia-based Gannett Co. Inc.
, which owns the Advertiser, recently announced 1,000 job cuts, citing the economic downturn and continuing losses in advertising revenue.
Meanwhile, Advertiser staff reporters have initiated a blog strike, refusing to write additional content for the newspaper Web site, for which they are not paid.
Pacific Media produces four of the company's seven community newspapers, as well as PennySaver and Buy & Sell.
President and Publisher Lee Webber said in a statement that the community papers will be consolidated into four publications serving the same communities, effective yesterday. The first day of publication under the restructuring will be next month.
"The realignment of operations will result in a reduction in force of 27 positions," he said.
"Our analysis indicates these steps will result in a more focused and efficient operation overall while improving the quality of service we provide to our readers and advertisers."
The paper was required to give union members three months' notice, so they will continue to work and draw pay until the layoff is effective, said Wayne Cahill, administrative officer of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild, which represents 30 people in the division.
Nationally, newspapers and specialty classified publications such as Pennysaver have been hit hard by free online classified advertising Web sites, such as Craigslist.
PMP, named after founder Peggi Murchison, was purchased by the Advertiser in March of 2001. It published free community newspapers, including Ka Nupepa, Leeward Current and West Oahu Current, as well as other specialty publications.
Pennysaver and Buy & Sell also were purchased by the Advertiser in 2001, the year that Canada-based Black Press Ltd. bought both the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and MidWeek.
The blog strike is being undertaken by more than a dozen unionized staff writers and affects the newspaper's Web site, which is likely viewed by more readers than its printed pages. They bade adieu to online readers on Sunday.
The writers continue to produce stories for the paper's print edition during contentious contract talks that resumed yesterday. They have overwhelmingly approved a strike, though strike notice has not yet been given and the two sides will meet again today.
The reporters' first blog strike was in February and its union said it was the first blog strike in the newspaper industry.
Six unions representing reporters and other employees at the Advertiser have been working under the terms of a contract that expired in June of last year.
Since May, reporters, photographers and others have declined to produce news videos for the Web site, according to an e-mail widely circulated in support of the Hawaii Newspaper Guild. It is one of the six unions comprising the Printing Trades Council.