Who weeps for journalists? Journalists

Paper protest
About 70 newspaper employees around the Twin Cities rallied outside the St. Paul Pioneer Press, which has cut about 100 jobs in the last year. The group released a black balloon for each lost job.
MPR Photo/Toni Randolph

More than 70 reporters, editors and other Twin Cities newspaper staffers rallied outside the Pioneer Press on Monday. They were protesting recent job cuts at the St. Paul newspaper.

Twenty-one newsroom employees took a company buyout offer last month. The newspaper says the cuts were needed because advertising is down.

"We lost 65 people in six years," says Brian Bonner, a reporter with the Pioneer Press. "The company has lost more than 100 people in two years. Unfortunately, 345 Cedar St is no longer full and that means we can't put out the same paper that we did. That means less news for people who depend on us."

The rally at the Pioneer Press also attracted newsroom staff from the Star Tribune. It coincided with similar rallies at newspapers across the country.

The editor of the Pioneer Press says newspapers must work to maintain the quality of news coverage despite staff cutbacks.

"We're kind of caught in an unfortunate bubble, I think. And we need to work it out and in the meantime we need to keep getting better," said Thom Fladung. "No, I don't think the industry is in a state of turmoil. I think we're in a state of having to rethink what we do and letting go of some things we always found precious and really focusing on a mission and going after it."

Union officials say more than 44,000 news media employees have lost their jobs over the last five years -- most of them at newspapers.

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