The Providence Journal, buffeted by declining circulation and advertising revenue, has re-hired three laid-off copy editors to do part-time, sporadic work.
John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, says he does not read the move as a sign of a marked improvement in the paper's financial health - but rather, an attempt to bolster a department particularly overworked in the wake of layoffs in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009.
Still, he says, it's better than bad news.
"It may be a commentary on the condition of our industry that the hiring of three irregularly scheduled part-timers is cause for celebration," Hill said, in a flyer distributed to union members announcing the move. "But we should take some hope from the fact that at the same time other papers and wire services are laying people off, in Providence we are adding, if only in a small way, new positions."
Hill said the copy desk crunch came into stark relief, of late, when members of a depleted staff had to work as many as eight days in a row to cover for collegaues out on sick leave.