Memo: Post-Dispatch Editors Announce Layoffs

Sep 29, 2008 at 11:43 am

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch will leave only one employee – Bill Lambrecht – in its Washington, D.C., bureau following the November 2 election. Lambrecht is the D.C. bureau chief. Reporters Phil Dine and Deirdre Shesgreen Friday were offered jobs with the daily in St. Louis.

Executive Editor Arnie Robbins and Managing Editor Pam Maples have also told P-D staff that some of the seventeen employees laid-off Friday may be able to keep their jobs -- if, that is, those with more seniority decide to retire between now and October 10.

(Earlier Friday we reported that eighteen positions were eliminated, based on accounts from other Post scribes.)

Last month, the Post laid off eighteen people and reduced the paper’s page count, as we detailed in this September 10 story. In an interview at the time, Robbins, the executive editor, told RFT that in 2006, the Post-Dispatch news department employed about 340 people. At end-August 2008 the news staff numbered between 230-240 people, Robbins said. That number is now estimated to be about 215 people.

Friday’s full memo from Robbins and Maples to P-D staffers is re-printed below:

It's been a difficult day. We eliminated 17 positions Friday.

We are reducing the size of our Washington Bureau to one immediately after the November election. Bill Lambrecht remains our bureau chief. Phil Dine and Deirdre Shesgreen have been offered transfers to St. Louis.

We are eliminating the positions of all of our news clerks in the D Classification (Robert Douglas, Bryant Ingram, John Mertzlufft, Coddy Murray, Keith Schildroth, Cyndi Waters, Pam Williams).

We are eliminating the positions of three news clerks in the C classification.

We are eliminating the position of our Jefferson City assistant (Linda Sommers).

We are eliminating the position of two reporters, one copy editor and one designer.

Under the Guild contract, staff members with more seniority in the classifications affected can volunteer to retire or resign and, in effect, take the place of those whose positions were eliminated. That's why we did not disclose some names. Please contact Gwen Jacobson or Bruce Benson in HR by Friday, Oct. 10 If you are interested in volunteering to leave.

We also are eliminating the positions of two assistant metro/business editors (Ed Kohn and Rod Hicks)

It's been a difficult year for our industry and the Post-Dispatch, and a very difficult economy. We are sorry to have to give you this news. It's not the kind of note we are fond of writing. Please take care of each other.

-- Arnie and Pam

- Kristen Hinman