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Newspaper firm's layoffs reach the Post-Dispatch

A Post-Dispatch spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the newspaper recently laid off one newsroom employee
Credit: SLBJ
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — For weeks, newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises has been laying off staff. Now the cutting has reached its largest newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A Post-Dispatch spokeswoman confirmed Friday that the newspaper recently laid off one newsroom employee. A person familiar with the matter said the affected position was an online sports editor.

Davenport, Iowa-based Lee (NYSE: LEE) has been laying off staff this month and last.

Poynter, a journalism nonprofit, reported more than 50 layoffs at Lee as of Oct. 2, including 10 at the Tulsa World in Oklahoma. Since the pandemic, Lee has laid off more than 70 staffers, according to another count by Poynter.

Poynter also reported that Lee laid off at least one person at Ladue News, the local lifestyle magazine.

The pandemic has devastated newspapers across the country, as advertising revenue plummeted, and Lee reported that it lost $727,000 in the third quarter, as operating revenue plummeted 25% on a pro-forma basis.

Lee in March said all of its employees would see their pay reduced or endure furloughs equivalent to two weeks salary in the third quarter. That move affected Post-Dispatch staffers.

Then, in June, Lee revealed it would reduce the frequency of its print editions in some of its markets, though the Post-Dispatch, still printed daily, said it had no plans to do so.

The Post-Dispatch last reported circulation figures for the first quarter of 2020, telling the Alliance for Audited Media it had print circulation of 96,628 Sunday and 62,404 weekdays, plus more than 3,000 "restricted access website subscribers."

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