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Four Press Herald layoffs today; 11 more to come

There will be layoffs at the Portland Press Herald, costing 15 people their jobs, according to a report on the paper's Web site. Four of the layoffs happened today, according to the Newspaper Guild Local 128 Web site, the site of the union representing PPH workers. Among those laid off today were two "Clerk II" positions in news, which will save the company between $527 and $639 a week per person, according to the union's wage tables, which are posted online. The union also suggests unnamed managers recently received bonuses totaling $132,000, and claims the company did not give the union the amount of advance notice the contract requires.

The paper will also reduce the amount of space in the paper for news, and will eliminate some wire-service subscriptions. The paper has lately been running a lot of wire copy from the McClatchy News Service, which is owned by McClatchy Newspapers, a not-quite-half owner of the Seattle Times Company, the Press Herald's parent company, whose majority owner is the Blethen family.

There is no word on whether there will be layoffs at the other Blethen-owned papers around the state.

In related layoff news, the Brunswick Times-Record's new owners laid off 10 people on their first day running the company, and the paper made no mention of that, drawing fire from media watchdog Al Diamon (who also writes for the Portland Phoenix) and the Forecaster's Midcoast edition. Late last week, Times-Record managing editor James McCarthy admitted that he killed the news, all by his lonesome.

Not a good time to be working for daily newspapers.


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