I guess I should just let them break the news in their own words:
The Spokesman-Review will cut about one-fourth of its editorial staff this month, laying off as many as 27 employees in a move its publisher says is a reaction to economic conditions of the newspaper industry.
Steven A. Smith, who has been the newspaper’s editor for more than six years, is resigning as part of the reductions, which he called devastating to the news operation. The newsroom cuts will affect writers, editors, photographers and support staff.
Companywide, about 60 workers will be cut.
I’ve only been to Spokane a few times, but I have a special fondness for the Spokesman-Review. It was with the S-R’s Olympia correspondent Rich Roesler with whom I had my first political interview, and… well… you always remember your first time. It was Rich who first broke the story of my “Horse’s Ass” initiative, setting me on my accidental path toward political activism, and he’s always remained accessible ever since.
I was relieved to read on Rich’s blog that his name was not on that list of 27 newsroom staffers to get the axe, and that at least for now, his job appears safe. You know, for a reporter. I’d say he’s one of the best political reporters in the state, but given the circumstances I’m afraid that might come off as faint praise, considering he’s fast becoming one of the only political reporters in the state.
Meanwhile, I keep hearing rumors from Thurston County that the Olympian is considering some sort of merger with the Tacoma News Tribune, or perhaps ceasing operations entirely… though multiple contacts at the paper deny the rumor is anything more than that. Still, with what we’ve been seeing elsewhere in the industry, anything is possible.