SF Chronicle lays off more staff

May 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
There were more painful cuts at the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday. The newspaper laid off more than a dozen workers in a new round of cuts that are becoming all too familiar.

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For a perfect and clear spring day, it was also a black one inside the San Francisco Chronicle.

Insiders estimate at least 20 people lost their jobs Thursday. They walked away with stuff in their arms and in boxes.

Doug Coleman, had worked on the production line for 38 years.

"Night crew hasn't come in yet and they won't find out till they walk in the door," he said.

"It's like being punched in the stomach to see your best friends, who are so talented, out of work in this job climate," reporter Carolyn Jones said.

Jones was not laid off, but according to the Media Guild, the Chronicle's list included 10 reporters from the Metro, Business, Datebook and East Bay sections.

"They're giving up a lot of what makes this a valuable property; there are hundreds of years of experience that walked out the door, and going to be walking out the door," Media Guild President Michael Cabanatuan said.

Thursday's move surprised nobody. The Hearst Corporation, which owns the Chronicle, says the paper is losing $50 million annually. Earlier this year, Chronicle union workers agreed to cutbacks and buyouts, but the number of people who left on their own fell short.

It is all happening at a time when newspapers are failing across the country.

"It's not anybody's fault, I don't think; we're just trying to move forward and hope that at some point things will start to make sense one way or another," Jones said.

"It is going to be a lot less clear what is going on in our cities, in our governments, in the banking industry; all these things we're trying to keep a watch on now, there will be fewer people doing it," Cabanatuan said.

One reporter told ABC7 there will be more layoffs Friday.

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