Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1, 2008, 4:59 P.M.

S-R announces layoffs

The Spokesman-Review has announced the layoffs of 21 newsroom employees and four to six newsroom managers. The news hit a stunned staff at a meeting this afternoon in which the paper’s editor, Steve Smith, also announced his resignation, effective Friday. “This is not going to be a fun meeting,” Smith told the newsroom staff. “There’s no way to sugar-coat it.” In accordance with an existing union contract, a list of potential layoffs, of those least senior within certain classifications of the newsroom, was read; over the next two weeks, voluntary resignations, with severance, will be sought to replace some of those layoffs. Smith, who has served as the S-R’s editor for more than six years, said, “The decision to resign was mine. I’ve told you all before how I felt about a layoff of this scope. It was not a layoff that I personally could support or sustain, and so I am resigning. If it’s any consolation, it saves a couple of positions, which saves a few reporters, but that really isn’t the point. The point is it’s time.”

As a 17-year employee of the paper, I’m not on the layoff list, but many of my esteemed colleagues up north are. After reading the list today, Smith told the staff, “I hired most of you people, and I hired you because you’re absolutely the best I could find anywhere. And saying goodbye to you is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I am so sorry. You have my apologies. If there was any other way, I would have found it, and God knows I’ve tried.”

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