About 35 newsroom employees were laid off at The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday, the seventh round of job cuts in the last four years and the first under the newspaper’s new editor.
The layoffs, part of a planned reorganization, included familiar bylines: nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette and veteran reporters such as Anne Krueger (East County), Jeff Ristine (Just Fix It), Leslie Berestein (the U.S.-Mexico border), Michael Burge (North County) and John Marelius (politics).
It continues the slimming of the newspaper, which since late 2006 has cut more than half its staff to combat sagging advertising revenues.
The difference this time: The changes are being articulated as part of a new, refocused vision for the newspaper. The Union-Tribune is simultaneously hiring, recruiting new leaders and offering entry-level reporting jobs. Some reporters laid off Thursday have the option of taking one of those jobs — dubbed a junior staff writer, which pays about $35,000 annually — or a six months’ salary severance.
In a note to readers, Editor Jeff Light described the reorganization as the beginning of the newspaper’s changes.
“The benefits will not be immediately apparent,” he wrote. “But by summer’s end, you will see a different U-T both in print and online.”