News & Observer to drop 20 positions

The News & Observer is cutting 20 positions, explaining that “the slowly recovering economy continues to hurt ad sales.”

Most N&O staff members will also be required to take five days of unpaid time off by April 18.

The losses at the Raleigh McClatchy paper are to be “across its operations,” and will include about five in the newsroom. A copy desk supervisor in Sports has announced he’ll leave, and movie/pop culture critic Craig D. Lindsey has been let go. An assigning editor is leaving (it’s not been announced publicly, yet) and the positions of a rank-and-file copy editor in the Raleigh office – the Charlotte and Raleigh copy desks are one – and a reporter will be eliminated. If volunteers don’t step forward, seniority will dictate who goes.

How long, we have to wonder, does The N&O’s advertising department fail to meet revenue goals before the paper’s publisher quits blaming the economy and realizes it’s the people running the show – management – who aren’t getting the job done.

Publisher Orage Quarles III could talk to anyone who no longer works for his advertising department, no longer fears reprisal, and they could tell him how  productivity is stifled and morale is quashed by a management style that relies on threats, insults and verbal abuse.

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