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Pioneer Press lays off Twins reporter, five copy editors

Filling in the blanks from this morning's report on PiPress layoffs, here are the details from editor Thom Fladung.

The best-known name is Twins reporter Phil Miller, who is being canned mid-season. Miller and fellow Twins scribe Kelsie Smith are the bottom two reporters, seniority-wise.

But the copy desk was slammed, with five of the nine cuts coming from that area. How many copy editors are even left?

As Fladung notes, "We are going to look to accelerate the integration of our copy desks, which we began several months ago with the sharing of more tasks between the hub and sports copy desk."

Here's the list, which doesn't include product planner Andrew Schaefer, the lone non-newsroom layoff:

Fellow staffers:

I am very sorry to announce that today we laid off nine newsroom colleagues, including:

--- Page designer Dana Albrecht
--- Copy editor Trish Collopy
--- Copy editor Sara Connolly
--- Copy editor Emily King
--- Sports reporter Phil Miller
--- Copy editor Andrew Pritchard
--- Photographer Brandi Thomas
--- Copy editor Jennifer Westpfahl
---- Page designer Amanda Willis

The layoffs are to deal with the challenges we face in this continuingly difficult economy and amid unprecendented change for our industry.

In that, we certainly are not alone in the newspaper world.

That's the reality. But I realize it's little solace. The layoffs bring new challenges to our newsroom. These people are more than just a list of names in an e-mail. They are a talented and productive collection of journalists whose work here included designing dynamic pages, producing memorable photos and videos, covering one of our highest-profile beats in the Twins, writing vibrant headlines and saving us from ourselves by asking good questions and catching and correcting numerous errors of fact and nuance.

We will miss them.

This week, faced with the additional challenge of the holiday, we will be scrambling to fill holes. Going forward, we are going to look to accelerate the integration of our copy desks, which we began several months ago with the sharing of more tasks between the hub and sports copy desk. We also will be going to a more universal approach, with more shared work, with our page designers. And we will continue to look for tasks and work that can be eliminated or streamlined without badly damaging our newspaper, online sites and niche magazines.

Your ideas for that and any other ways we can do our jobs better are most welcome. And as always, I am here for questions. Thom

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Comments (7)

Niche magazines?? Maybe they should focus on the core business - providing the news.

Why doesn't the Pioneer Press just layoff Joe Soucheray? He's already banking in on his radio program and doesn't seem to care one way or another what happens to the newspaper industry.

"continguingly"? Looks like the loss of copyeditors is already having its effect.

The sports sections are a big reason I still refuse to give up print. The news is usually available elsewhere, but daily newspaper sports coverage is usually much better than TV or web. So what does this mean, they won't be covering the Twins?

Phil Miller, in his previous pro life, was one of the top NBA writers, covering the Jazz in Salt Lake City. He came to the Twin Cities to realize a dream of covering MLB and the Twins. As much as he loses in this, that paper loses more.

It's laughable how newspapers think copy editors and designers don't matter. Just laughable. I don't see how the PiPress can fire that many evening people and even have a decent paper. But a decent paper hardly seems to be the goal anymore.
Also too bad for the Twins reporter. As Eric Ferguson commented, sports coverage is a way to keep readers. Obviously, that doesn't matter. Good luck to Kelsie Smith, who won't have a day off until October.

Based on the grammar and usage in so many stories, I'm surprised to hear the SPPP still employed copy editors.