N&O cutting pay, eliminating 78 jobs

Posted March 16, 2009

— The News & Observer is cutting salaries of all employees earning $25,000 or more per year and eliminating 78 jobs in the newspaper's latest series of cost-cutting measures.

The N&O employs more than 600 people. The job reductions, which will include all operations of the newspapers as well as some voluntary severance packages, represent 11 percent of the paper’s work force.

“Most” employees also will be required to take a one-week furlough between May 1 and Oct. 31.

Publisher Orage Quarles III announced the cutbacks and layoffs today in an e-mail to employees. A copy of the e-mail was made available to

Last week, McClatchy Co., the parent newspaper chain of The N&O, The Charlotte Observer and several newspapers in South Carolina, said it would cut its work force by 15 percent.

Quarles told that The N&O is profitable but is not meeting its targets.

The N&O has cut more than 200 full-time jobs over the past year, leaving it with 613 full-time positions, according to the newspaper. The paper's Web site lists some 165 employees in its newsroom

McClatchy, burdened by more than $2 billion in debt from acquiring the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, has already cut jobs several times, sharply reduced its shareholder dividend, frozen pay and hiring and taken other cost-cutting measures.

“Over the next several weeks, The News & Observer will reduce its work force by 78 positions, or 11% of all employees,” Quarles wrote in the e-mail. “These reductions affect most areas of our operation. Some positions will be eliminated through layoffs, and some departments will have opportunities for employees in certain work groups of two or more to accept a voluntary severance package. If enough employees do not take the voluntary option, work groups will be reduced according to length of employment.”

Pay cuts will take effect in what Quarles described as a “graduated reduction” beginning March 30.

Employees making $100,000 and more will have their pay cut by 10 percent. Employees making between $50,000 and $99,999 will have their pay cut 5 percent. Employees between $25,000 and $49,999 in pay face a 2.5 percent cut in pay.

Other cost-cutting moves include a decision to narrow the size of the newspaper and cuts to 2009 bonuses for the publisher and vice presidents.


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  • EyesintheSkies Mar 17, 2009

    Hanging kills quicker than strangulation. The N&O prefers to twist in the wind and kick and scream. Sad ending for the "Old Reliable", but you reap what you sow.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 16, 2009

    I dropped my subscription for two reasons. One was because of the liberal agenda of the N&O. The second was that it's now the Charlotte N&O.

    I get my Raleigh information from WRAL and

    I don't feel sorry for the N&O. They brought these problems on themselves.

  • asjdiw Mar 16, 2009

    Could happen to a nicer newspaper. I can't believe a thing they print after their decidedly biased coverage of the Dix/CRH merger.
    Sorry, bub. No Pulitzer for you...
    Hope y'all shut down.

  • Even Mar 16, 2009

    I hate to see the Capital lose a newspaper but the N&O wasn't much of a newpaper. I dropped my subscription years ago because it was obvious it had an agenda that was too far left. I want to read something the reports facts and not only in favor of the far left. Even though I didn't much care for the last last president I got tired of reading "Bush bashing". Very petty petty and always a very liberal agenda. Hopefully someone will buy it and we can read some factual news for a change.

  • janpope Mar 16, 2009

    The only hope for the N&O is to be sold to a local investment group or individual. It should be a bargain, since McClatchey stock is at 60 cents a share. Then the N&O could focus more on the Raleigh Durham area. Who wants to hear about Charlotte?

    If they're not sold, I don't expect them to make it to the end of the year.

    It would be sad for the capital of the state not to have a paper.

  • Nancy Mar 16, 2009

    chili - I like to be able to have coupons that are acceptable at ANY grocery store, not specific ones though. Unless, of course, the manufacturers are using the grocery store web sites to promote??? That would be great!

    I make my grocery lists online from the store websites sales flyer access, and based on price and coupon I may have, determine where I buy what.

    I'm fortunate enough to have four major grocery stores within a half of a mile of each other - makes picking off the specials at each easy and not time consuming :)

  • sstone52 Mar 16, 2009

    Try calling the N&O and you reach a know nothing and unable to do anything in the Philipines. I dropped by subscription after 30 years.

  • jr1brown Mar 16, 2009

    JUSTMEBART: What would really be funny is if the reason the web site does not show your name is because after tomorrow your waste of a job is eliminated!

  • jet2rdu Mar 16, 2009

    The N&O should eliminate its Monday paper. It is so thin on news and ads it just doesn't make sense to print it. If it gets any thinner it will blow off the driveway with the lighest breeze. Its a sad state of a newspaper when the plastic bag has more weight than the newspaper.
    Also, a newspaper so liberal as the N&O turns away so many readers who prefer a more balanced point of view on local and state news. Its sad that the N&O has outsourced most of its news gathering to the left leaning liberal agenda AP - Associated Press.

  • Chili Mar 16, 2009

    Nancy- Most grocers already offer coupons online. Just go to your favorite grocers website, find their coupon section, and print them on your home printer.