Tribune Co. announced a restructuring of its publishing business Wednesday to focus on its digital efforts and streamline operations, resulting in nearly 700 job losses across the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers.
The plan, which was outlined for Tribune Co. employees in a memo, seeks to integrate business units such as advertising, marketing, manufacturing and digital media under common leadership. It is aimed at offsetting annual publishing revenue declines of $75 million to $100 million without diminishing editorial content, according to executives.
But publishing staff positions accounting for about 6 percent of Tribune Co.'s workforce were being eliminated beginning Wednesday, and the effect of those cuts remains to be seen. Most of the layoffs will be in technology, marketing and other noneditorial functions.
Under the publishing realignment, which will go into effect Jan. 1, the company plans to "invest more concertedly" in digital growth, according to Liguori. He announced that Tribune Publishing's digital unit will be headed by Bill Adee, currently senior vice president of digital development and operations at the Chicago Tribune.
Tribune Co. emerged Dec. 31 from a four-year stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company owns 23 television stations, including WGN-Ch. 9; national cable channel WGN America; WGN-AM 720; eight daily newspapers and other media assets.
Tribune Co. has been exploring the possible divestiture of its newspapers since February. In July, it announced plans to spin off its publishing division into a separate company.
While the publishing division continues to operate in the black, advertising revenue declined by $84 million last year, a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
Tribune Co. eliminated about 800 publishing positions last year.