At Huckleberries request, SR Editor Gary Graham (pictured) issued this statement re: 12 veteran newsroom staffers who opted to take an early retirement buyout recently: "It's no secret that we're losing 12 veteran, full-time journalists by the end of the year through an early retirement offer. Those who are leaving have played important roles in our journalism for many years and they will be greatly missed as colleagues and friends. The early retirement offer was only extended to employees who were at least 55 years old and had at least 20 years of service with the company. Those leaving include Steve Bergum, Rick Bonino, Jeff Jordan, Vince Grippi, Dave Trimmer, John Blanchette, John Craig, Kevin Graman, Bart Rayniak, Chris Anderson, Gil Hulse and Jim Kershner. I also want to note that some of the familiar names listed here will continue to write for us on a freelance basis." More below.
I know that some of our competitors have gone to great lengths to obtain the list of the individuals who are leaving, perhaps in hopes that the departures are a sign of this newspaper's demise. Well, I can assure our readers in print and online that we are alive and kicking. We will regroup in the next few months, developing new coverage plans and strategies for our longterm success.
While we are losing good people, we still are by far the largest newsgathering operation in the Inland Northwest. Our competitors may want to highlight our losses, but they ignore what remains. For the record, among those who will remain on staff are 23 people who have at least 20 years of experience at our newspaper. I'll match that record of experience against any in the region.