That's according to a reader who says the cuts at Mississippi's Hattiesburg American are effective Feb. 7. Other U.S. newspapers may also have imposed wage reductions rather than furloughs.
The American's Monday-Saturday circulation is 12,876; Sunday is 16,082.
[Updated at 10:54 p.m. ET.] Following is the text of a memo General Manager Tracie Fowler sent today to employees:
Some of you may have heard that a division-wide furlough for Q1 has been announced today. The reason you have not received notice of this is that The Hattiesburg American is one of a few sites that have been asked to take an alternative route in conserving payroll expense. Let me explain:
With the exception of the short-term gains we saw in for the 18 months following Katrina, our top-line revenue has not grown for ten years. We remain one of the least profitable business units in the company, ranking 39th among 67 sites in profitability. Until we can reverse our top-line revenue trends, we must seek expense cuts that are more permanent than a furlough provides.
In other words, our cost reductions must reflect the fact that we need to lower our overall business expense, not just create a temporary way to add savings to meet a challenging quarter.
So instead of implementing a furlough, we will be reducing all employees' base pay by 6.5%, effective Monday, Feb. 7, 2010. You will not be required to take a furlough in addition to this. We recognize this payroll change will impact each of you very personally and do not take this action lightly.
However, it does allow us to lower our basic business costs in a way that helps secure our long-term viability as a franchise, as we work to grow our revenue.
I want to thank you for your personal sacrifice to assure our long-term profitability. We now must work on growing back revenue.
825 North Main St.
Latest update: How furloughs helped spur $4 million in exec bonuses
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