BALTIMORE (AP) The (Baltimore) Sun completed its latest round of job cuts Friday by eliminating about 100 positions.
Fifty-five of those jobs were in the newsroom, according to union leaders, but the mass layoffs feared by many there were largely averted.
Judy Berman, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, declined to give an exact number of eliminated jobs but said the company had met its goal for cutting the work force by about 100 with a minimum of layoffs.
The 171-year-old newspaper, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., had about 280 newsroom employees before this round of cuts.
Forty-three newsroom employees accepted buyouts, and two reporters agreed to be laid off voluntarily, said Tanika White, a unit co-chair with the Baltimore-Washington Newspaper Guild.
Tribune has been slashing staff across its daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, in response to declining circulation and advertising revenue as readers migrate to the Internet. The company took on a heavy debt burden when billionaire Sam Zell took it private in December as part of an $8.2 billion buyout.
In addition to reducing staff, The Sun and other Tribune papers are planning an aggressive redesign that company officials say will include more local news, consumer information, watchdog coverage and better graphics.
Union leaders say the leaner newspaper will be impaired in its ability to hold public officials accountable. The Sun also reduced staff through buyouts in March and in June 2007, and the number of union-represented employees has been cut roughly in half since 2000.
One of the two employees who agreed to a voluntary layoff was investigative reporter Doug Donovan, who broke the story of Mayor Sheila Dixon's questionable spending practices during her time as City Council president. The state prosecutor's office is investigating Dixon for bribery and perjury, and agents raided her home last month.
"I'm pretty sure that I saved at least somebody's job with my leaving, so that's good," Donovan said.