News & Observer Publisher Orage Quarles III sent out this memo to employees yesterday:

From: Orage Quarles III

Subject: Workforce Reductions and Reorganization

Date: September 16, 2008

Company-wide workforce reductions and changes were just announced today throughout McClatchy. A press release detailing those actions – amounting to about 1,150 jobs, or 10% of the company’s workforce – is available at Many of these position eliminations are being managed through voluntary separation programs such as ours and attrition. Reductions vary by newspaper. The release also addresses other changes in our business model and operations.

As you know, we currently are in the process of accepting voluntary separation applications; the deadline for these applications is Wednesday, September 17 a t 10:00 am. We are hopeful that this voluntary program will help us meet much of our reduction goal of approximately 60-70 employees. However, once we have determined how many employees will separate under the voluntary program and how work will be redistributed, then we will assess if and where any additional involuntary job eliminations may be needed. We anticipate notifying employees affected by involuntary reductions by Monday, September 22.

We also are announcing that we are undertaking an initiative to outsource some financial functions that can be performed effectively offsite. These functions are primarily transactional and repetitive in nature. They can be improved through the use of additional automation and involve little if any customer contact. The vendor we are using, Infosys, specializes in supporting finance functions and is currently performing this work for The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe and New York Times. We are still reviewing roles to determine how many jobs will be affected but believe it will be approximately five. Although we are making this announcement today, the changes in staff will not become effective until the beginning of 2009.

The necessity of such painful steps is especially disappointing because we believed the cuts made two months ago would be sufficient to see us through the sharp revenue declines that have beset the newspaper industry. Instead, we’ve seen that more is required to protect the financial health of the company, to ensure the success of our efforts to restructure and adjust to meet new competitive and economic challenges.

As you know, we have all been transitioning to new ways of doing business, and we are accelerating that effort. We are confident in our ability to navigate to a stable and prosperous future as an integrated media company serving as our community’s most trusted supplier of news and advertising i n formation.

Severing employment ties with valued friends and colleagues, many of whom have served the company well for many years, is the most difficult adjustment we are called upon to make. We will do everything possible to make their transition as smooth as possible.

We undertake these difficult decisions because they are unavoidable steps on our road to a successful future. Our public service mission remains at the center of everything we do, and we know that the sooner we have made the transition to operating and competing in the new media environment, the sooner we can begin to move forward once again to build and sustain our enterprise.

Our future success is the product of the hard work you all do every day. We respectfully ask for your continued focus and contribution, even in these difficult circumstances. Thank you for all that you do.