10/9/08

News Union big rips Providence Journal

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Tree-killer beset by paper-stream waste, left-wing bias as news union is forced to take a dues hit

Plans announced last month for The Providence Journal to layoff 30 newsroom staffers have yet to be reported by the paper, a situation that has union leaders upset. Tim Schick, administrator of The Providence Newspaper Guild contends that the paper's failure to report on its own cuts -- expected to take place by Friday -- is hypocritical.

"There are a lot of questions about when they will be upfront with the public about what is going on," said Schick. "If it were any other business in the community, the Journal would be reporting it and seeking it out." The layoff plan, announced to staff on Sept. 24, calls for mostly part-time newsroom staffers to be ousted, along with five full-timers, according to the union.

Editor Thomas Heslin did not respond to calls for comment.

Although the paper has declined to report on the exact pending cuts, it indicated in a Sept. 5 story about cutbacks at parent company A.H. Belo that layoffs were likely soon. The union on its Web site has revealed the 30-person plan, as has the alternative weekly The Phoenix.

Asked if he believes the failure to report is a directive from above the newsroom, Schick said, "It is more than a thought. When they went through buyouts a few weeks ago, the announcement came after. I suspect there is going to be a similar announcement."

Schick referred to 22 buyouts that were granted in early September. "In the news business, you would think they would report the news as it occurs," he said.

(editorandpublisher.com)

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