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Register-Guard to cut 12 percent of staff

The Register-Guard plans to reduce its workforce by about 12 percent, or 30 positions.

In a statement on the R-G website, the paper's publisher Tony Baker blamed a downturn in the local economy and an increase in newsprint prices for the cuts.

R-G Newspaper Guild Co-President Randi Bjornstad, a reporter at the paper, said that Baker told a general staff meeting today that the paper would cut about 30 workers due to soft sales and circulation in the economic downturn.

It’s unclear if the R-G’s newsroom will be impacted by the reduction. The newsroom is already “lean” with a few vacant positions left unfilled, Bjornstad said. “We don’t know.”

Management expects about half the reduction will come from not filling vacant positions and buyouts and about half from actual layoffs, according to Bjornstad.

The R-G has about 20 news reporters, not including sports, and the Newspaper Guild represents about half of the about 260 employees at the newspaper, according to Bjornstad. The Guild contract specifies that involuntary layoffs are done by seniority, she said.

Bjornstad said Baker mentioned the recent 10 percent workforce cut at the McClatchy chain of 28 dailies in his announcement.

Many of the nation’s newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, have recently announced workforce cuts due to a decline in profits from the down economy and lost advertising to the internet.

“It’s pretty much like everywhere else,” Bjornstad said.

Baker “expects things to bounce back,” Bjornstad said. The paper has suffered similar cuts in the past, but not in at least a decade, she said. “It’s been a long time.”