Tampa Tribune employees told the newsroom will lose 21 more jobs to layoffs by year's end; WFLA-Ch. 8 to lose 10
Executives at Media General's Tampa Tribune and WFLA-Ch. 8 are informing employees today of a new plan to ramp up convergence at the company's media outlets in Tampa -- a plan that will include the involuntary layoff of 21 positions from the newspaper's editorial staff and a loss of 10 positions from the television station's newsroom.
Tribune editor Janet Coats said 11 newspaper employees will be notified they will be laid off tomorrow, receiving the same severance benefits as 15 editorial staffers who took the buyout offered by the company earlier this year. She couldn't say for sure when the next wave of 10 positions would be eliminated, though she expected action within eight to 12 weeks.
At WFLA, the 10 disapppearing positions include: three people who took the buyout offered by Media General earlier this year, on air staffers Mace Michaels and Claudia DeCampo and five more people who will be gone by the year's end. Tribune publisher Denise Palmer could not be reached to confirm non-newsroom layoffs. All told, about 50 jobs will disappear from the two newsrooms by the end of 2008.
According to WFLA news director Don North, both the Tribune and WFLA will work to create a single pool of photographers who can shoot video and/or still images for television, online and print. He would not comment on rumors that all photographers will be required to reapply for their jobs, because the job description has changed so much.
The numbers, while significant, were less than the 60 newsroom layoffs predicted by some earlier reports. But Media General had already said it expected to eliminate 250 jobs this year across all its Florida outlets, where 54 people total took the buyout.
By the year's end, Coats expects the Tribune's newsroom staffing to be just over 200 people. Including WFLA-Ch. 8, the total staffing for both outlets should be closer to 275 positions. Under the new plan, the team reporting concept begun at the paper years ago will be expanded, with Tribune, WFLA and TBO.com staffers working together, grouped by subject, and sometimes sitting side-by-side in the same spaces.
"In essence, we will be operating as a single entity," said North, who admitted managers hadn't yet quite figured out how it all would work. "There's still a lot of details we're talking about."