The Oregonian announced this morning that it is cutting employee pay, and requiring reporters and editors to take a week of unpaid furlough this year.
The 170-year-old newspaper has been clobbered by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shutdown, which has slowed advertising to nearly a halt.
Oregonian Media Group, the entity that oversees the paper's business, responded today by cutting employee pay by 2 to 20 percent, on a scale based on what workers earn. The company will also require newsroom employees to take a week of unpaid leave; employees in other departments must take two weeks without pay.
"Our focus through these measures, and through other cost savings efforts we've engaged in, is to ensure that we capably deliver for our community as this unfolds," said Oregonian Media Group president John Maher in a statement to WW, "while positioning our company to serve our community and our clients successfully through the economic recovery and beyond."
Newspapers across Oregon have been hit hard by the economic fallout from COVID-19. The Portland Mercury ceased print publication, Pamplin Media laid off 20 employees, and WW reduced its print circulation and laid off five people.
In its announcement, The Oregonian noted that its parent company, New Jersey-based Advance Publications, is making similar cuts in newsrooms it runs nationwide. Advance is a privately held corporation with annual revenues of more than $2 billion and includes a number of newspapers, cable TV properties and magazines, including Vanity Fair.
Oregonian reporters displayed stiff lips on social media this morning, and asked readers to consider digital subscriptions. "This is terrible news, but we're far from the only ones hurting," wrote City Hall reporter Everton Bailey Jr. "We get to keep our jobs for now and will continue doing our best to inform the public."