SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Tribune announced layoffs for eight staff members and elimination of its Faith section Thursday as the paper complies with a 10 percent budget cut mandated by its New York-based owner.
Layoffs impacted one part-time and seven full-time staff members, and follow the elimination of four other positions through attrition in the past six weeks, according to a report on the Tribune website.
The cuts come a week after Digital First Media handed down the order for company-wide budget cuts and closed Thunderdome, its 3-year-old national digital newsgathering experiment. Dubbed "Project Catalyst," the across-the-board reduction aims to save the company an estimated $100 million.
Editor and publisher Terry Orme said seeing dismissed staff members leave Thursday was discouraging.
"We're going to miss every one of them," Orme said. "It's something that is happening across our company and it's also something that is happening across the industry."
With the loss of its Faith section, reporting by religion writers will appear in other areas of the paper and the paper could move to enhance religion coverage online, Orme said.
The paper's final stand-alone Faith section will run Saturday, but Orme said the change doesn't mark a reduction in faith coverage.
"Our faith coverage now runs as news stories, and on our news pages. A lot of our faith stories are on A1," Orme said. "We have a lot of traffic to faith stories, and especially LDS stories, on our website."
Additional reductions to the paper's content are still undetermined, said Orme, but the Tribune intends to collect input from staff and readers about what should be done in coming days.
"It's kind of all on the table, but I think we need to talk, we need to have a deeper conversation about it," Orme said.
The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune share a joint operating agreement, which was established in 1952 by the two daily newspapers to share expenses for publishing, advertising and circulation.
The agreement was revised in October, preserving the editorial independence of both publications but expanding the overall investment by the Deseret News in the printing facilities and infrastructure.
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