The reduction in staff brings the total number of employees to 690, according to a statement posted on the newspaper’s website, and the layoffs affect most major departments at the company.
In the fall of 2008, The Oklahoman cut 150 jobs through early retirement and layoffs, and in May, laid off 57 employees.
In an internal e-mail obtained by Oklahoma Gazette, Publisher David Thompson states that financial projections for 2011 show that reductions in work force are necessary.
Those affected by the layoffs were notified Wednesday morning, the e-mail states, and were being offered termination pay, severance pay, subsidized COBRA coverage and outplacement services to search for new employment. The company will host several town hall meetings for employees on Friday to discuss the paper’s financial state.
Thompson did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning from Oklahoma Gazette.
The e-mail from Thompson reads:
“When we conducted a reduction in force last May, I had hoped it would be our last. Unfortunately, our financial projections for 2011 require an additional reduction in force at the beginning of this new calendar year.
“In addition to a number of non-personnel-related expense reductions, senior management has determined the need to eliminate 46 positions filled with current employees. Notifications to those affected began this morning and will be completed by the end of the day. We would like to complete this process as soon as possible, but we must do so within the parameters of individual work schedules. This makes for a sad week for all of us, but it is important for you to know that we are trying very hard to take care of the affected individuals in a number of ways including termination pay, severance pay, subsidized COBRA coverage (relating to the continuation of employee insurance benefits), and outplacement services to aid in the search for new employment.
“To learn more about the overall expense reduction plan and workforce reductions, as well as our challenges and opportunities going forward, I would like to encourage you to attend one of two Town Hall Meetings this Friday, January 21, in the Ground Floor Auditorium. The meetings will take place at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and you will be invited to ask questions after we share some information with you. Because Friday evenings are not a good time for our night shift Operations employees, we will be meeting with them in the near future. Please plan to attend one of the daytime meetings on the 21st if at all possible.
List of newsroom layoffs:
- James Tyree, staff reporter for the Norman bureau
- John Williams, staff reporter for the Edmond bureau