Ten editorial staffers were among 25 Chicago Tribune employees whose positions were eliminated Wednesday in a sweeping move to cut costs and shift resources to digital operations.
The company did not specify the jobs affected, but sources said the newsroom layoffs included photo editor Chuck Berman, sports digital editor Stu Courtney, photo imager Eric Davis, sports copy editor Robert Foltman, associate sports editor Lee Gordon, sports copy editor Mike Pankow, metro planning editor Chris Rickett and video reporter/columnist Jenniffer Weigel. Two other editorial staffers could not be confirmed.
Ten layoffs came in production and press operations at the Freedom Center printing plant and five more were in other Chicago Tribune Media Group areas, according to insiders.
Tribune Publishing disclosed last March that it planned to reduce expenses by $65 million to $70 million to offset a projected 3 percent revenue decline for 2015, according to a chicagotribune.com report.
In response to inquiries, a spokesman for Chicago Tribune Media Group released a statement emphasizing newsroom efficiencies and ongoing initiatives “to support our expanding content portfolio and digital efforts.”
Here is the text of the statement:
The newsroom continues to evolve to support our expanding content portfolio and digital efforts. We continue to add and invest in staff in key areas such as investigative reporting, digital programming, local news, opinion leadership and commentary. At the same time, we have become more efficient across the entire newsroom: In fact, we are now publishing more stories across more screens than ever before in the organization’s history and we are publishing more news pages in the printed edition than before the Great Recession. The acquisition of suburban news and information brands last fall further enhances and deepens our coverage of the region. And we continue to invest in highly attractive digital verticals, including Blue Sky, Theater Loop, Printers Row and Dining.
Since 2011, we have published an additional 10,000 pages of news for our readers and additionally added nearly 50 full news pages per week this year alone.