Massimo among the 11 ProJo staffers taking buyout

Longtime Providence Journal music critic Rick Massimo is among the 11 staffers who have accepted the latest buyout offer from the paper.

Two editors, features editor Phil Kukielksi and Sunday editor Jeanne Edwards, have also taken the buyout. John Hill, a reporter who serves as president of the Providence Newspaper Guild union, says no other names that the public might recognize are among the 11.

Film critic Michael Janusonis, rumored to have taken a buyout, has not, Hill said.

Journal management did not say, when it offered the buyouts, how many positions it needed to shed. But it indicated it needed "substantially more" than the eight it targeted in the last round of buyouts.

If management did not meet its number - whatever it might be - the paper may lay off staffers, with the newest employees going first. The union has requested an opportunity to negotiate concessions in lieu of layoffs, but it's unclear if the rank-and-file - or the Journal's top brass - will play along.

Hill says he expects management to announce how many more positions it needs to cut, if any, next week. It could also just initiate layoffs, at that point, if it is not interested in negotiating concessions with the union.

In the meantime, there is plenty of anxiety in the newsroom. "It's kind of Twilight Zone, now, limbo," Hill says. "Choose your metaphor." 

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