YOUR LETTERS: Slow death at Post-Dispatch

Lee Enterprises continues to lay off newsroom employees at the Post-Dispatch to cut expenses while maintaining six-figure bonuses for the executive suite in Davenport, Iowa.

The latest layoff was a veteran newsroom employee, the last of nearly 20 news researchers.

She was the news archivist and also performed dozens of other tasks formerly done by other staffers whose desks are now empty or gone.

It pains me to report this latest loss: She was highly respected and well-liked. You could not ask for a more loyal, dedicated and competent employee.

In addition, staffers report that the newsroom eliminated an open reporting position and open photographer position.

Management has said it wants to preserve as many jobs as possible. For many employees, it feels like a slow death.

Last May, Lee began eliminating the jobs of some 400 employees at its 77 daily newspapers in 26 states. Lee is the fourth largest newspaper group in the U.S.

At the Post-Dispatch, Lee has shrunk the newsroom and editorial staff to 72 by my count. That’s down from more than 300 newsroom staffers when Lee bought the paper in June 2005.

It needs to be said: That newsroom, now in rented quarters after Lee sold the longtime Post-Dispatch headquarters downtown on Tucker Boulevard, is still filled with talented journalists who produce good and often excellent work.

They just have to work harder than ever to make up for all their missing colleagues.

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It could be worse – and it is in a community in Minnesota where the sole remaining reporter at the St. Cloud Times has left, leaving the paper with no on-the-ground, full-time editorial staff in a community of 200,000. The Times now mainly publishes wire stories.

United Media Guild
Post-Dispatch investigative reporter (retired)

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