Down East 2013 ©
Late Friday afternoon, Blethen Maine Newspapers publisher Charles Cochrane issued a memo to all staff at the company’s three daily papers – the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville – announcing there would be another round of layoffs in August. This would be the fourth round of cutbacks in the past 12 months and, according to company officials and union representatives, it will be at least as large as the most recent layoffs in July, when the company cut 36 jobs.
Cochrane cited the Blethen’s “fragile financial situation” as the reason for the cuts, saying advertising revenues were expected to fall $1.2 million below budget in the second half of this year.
“The economy has continued to worsen,” the publisher wrote, “and our business results are reflecting that. June advertising volumes were even worse than we had forecast, and it is now certain that July will also come in below expectations …. In order to meet our commitments to our debt holders, we must reduce operating expenses by a comparable amount [about $1.2 million].”
The number of staff reductions and the positions to be cut will be announced on August 18.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org .