Nine newsroom employees in St. Louis will be laid off as Lee Enterprises shifts its news and editorial layout and design for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to the Lee Design Center in Munster, Indiana, the paper reported.
The new arrangement starts May 2.
The layoffs include eight union-represented workers, the paper reported.
“Such outsourcing inevitably weakens the newspaper, since editors with little knowledge of the St. Louis region will be editing copy, writing headlines and designing pages of the Post-Dispatch,” United Media Guild President Jeff Gordon said in a statement. “But our remaining members will do their best to maintain the P-D’s high journalistic standards and keep serving the community.”
The Post-Dispatch is currently looking for buyouts by March 4 from 15 workers who are at least 50 years old and have at least a decade on staff, the paper said.
Lee also recently sold the Post-Dispatch building. The newsroom will relocate to a nearby building later in 2019, the paper says.
The Post-Dispatch was among the last larger chain-owned papers to keep its design and editing jobs in-house, Gordon points out. The paper is profitable, Gordon says, but with falling revenues and “another challenge”: “Dissident shareholder Carlo Cannell has been highly critical of Lee’s management while urging a makeover of the company’s board of directors. His effort could draw the interest of vulture capitalist firms like Alden Global Capital, which is buying up and stripping down newspapers across the country,” Gordon writes.