ProJo buyout falls short of goal; Questions remain


Twenty-two Providence Journal employees -- 12 in news and 10 in advertising -- have taken the company up on its latest buyout, leaving unanswered for now the question of whether the newspaper will resort to layoffs to reach its target of eliminating at least 35 jobs.

As reported here yesterday, two of the big names who are leaving early next month are political reporter Scott MacKay, a 24-year veteran, and the versatile Mark Arsenault, a 10-year scribe. Since Arsenault has covered politics at times, these departures, coupled with that of political columnist M. Charles Bakst, represent a serious loss for the ProJo's traditionally strong political coverage.

Each of these reporters has imbued the Journal with some of the texture of Rhode Island, of its politics and its quirks, its charms and its flaws.

In terms of how the post-buyout Journal will structure its political coverage, including the question of whether it will fill Bakst's position, "Everyone has questions, but we don't have the answers yet," says Providence Newspaper Guild administrator Tim Schick.

I'll post an update if acting editor Tom Heslin and publisher Howard Sutton choose to speak with me about the buyout.

According to a newgroup e-mail circulated among Guild members,

The Guild expects to hear from the company by the end of next week on whether additional staff cuts are necessary. If they are, the Guild and the company will need to discuss how additional reduction will occur.

Below is the list of job titles where the company has offered buyouts.  The first number preceding the title is the number of people who have applied for the buyout in that classification. The second number is the maximum positions the company is willing to cut for that job title.


1  -  3 Advertising Sales Representatives (print & on-line)

0  -  1 Assistant Telephone Room Manager

5  -  5 Inside telephone Sales

0  -  2 Sales Assistants

2  -  2 Advertising Promotion Specialists

0  -  1 Promotion Assistant

1  -  2 Secretaries

1  -  1 Publications Clerk 


2  -  5 Section Editors

0  -  4 Copy Editors

2  -  5 Columnist/Special Writers

4  -  4 Reporters (print & on-line)

0  -  2 Artists

0  -  2 Photo Editor/Designers

0  -  4 Photographers

0  -  1 Visual Technician

2  -  3 Departmental Assistants

1  -  2 Library Assistants

0  -  2 State Staff Office Assistants

1  -  3 Editorial Assistants

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