Posted by Hmmmm! on July 28, 2009 at 20:55:48:
Tim Cuprisin, 30 others leave Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Could he be headed here??
Cuprisin, Jaques among latest to accept Journal Sentinel buyouts
The Business Journal of Milwaukee - by Rich Kirchen
Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 2:30pm CDT | Modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009, 2:52pm
An estimated 30 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newsroom staffers have taken the latest buyout proposed by the newspaper, including broadcast media columnist Tim Cuprisin, theater critic Damien Jaques, books editor Geeta Sharma-Jensen, education reporter Alan Borsuk, pop music writer Dave Tianen, music/dance writer Tom Strini and business columnist Tannette Johnson-Elie.
Monday night was the deadline for Journal Sentinel newsroom staff to apply for the buyout; newsroom managers will make the final decision on which applications to accept. However, Greg Pearson, who is the president of the newsroom employees union, said about 30 people have applied.
If too few journalists agree to buyouts, the newspaper will issue layoff notices possibly as soon as next week, Pearson said. He said he anticipates layoffs, but isn?t sure of the number.
?We?re waiting now to see just how severe this will be,? Pearson said Tuesday. ?I?m assuming it?ll mean additional layoffs.?
Journal Sentinel executives have told the newsroom employees union that ?substantially more than 25 positions? must be eliminated to cut costs, Pearson said.
This will be the fourth round of buyouts since fall 2007 at the daily newspaper owned by Journal Communications Inc., Milwaukee. The newsroom staff has already shrunk from 300 to 240 from previous buyouts, by Pearson?s estimate.
Journal Sentinel editor Marty Kaiser and publisher Betsy Brenner could not immediately be reached for comment.
The buyout package was the richest the newspaper has offered, at least for long-term employees. Departing employees will receive two weeks of pay for each year at the newspaper. Full-timers with 15 or more years of service would receive an additional 10 weeks of severance and full-time employees with less than 15 years will get an additional five weeks? pay.
Journalists who confirmed they are taking the buyout said that, after weighing the buyout package against the future of the newspaper, they decided to leave. Many of the more high-profile journalists are in the arts and entertainment area, but metro desk and copy desk staffers also signed up for the buyout.
?I could have stayed and continued my column, which launched in 1994,? Cuprisin said via email. ?But I figured that this was a great chance to take a generous buyout and move on to something new.?
Cuprisin, 51, started with the old Milwaukee Journal in 1986, and said he?s ?definitely not retiring.?
Borsuk, who is 59, will work his last day at the newspaper Friday after 37 years.
?Obviously it?s a really difficult time for me individually,? Borsuk said. ?This is not a happy time for the institution as a whole.?
Jaques, 62, also has been at the newspaper for 37 years, He said he will do some freelance writing for the Journal Sentinel and be involved in other writing and media projects.
Sharma-Jensen has been with the newspaper for 20 years, the last 10 as books editor. She said she expects to do some writing for the Journal Sentinel and also focus on fiction writing.
Tianen, 63, has been with the newspaper for 21 years and said he had been planning to work there until he turned 64.
?I?m fine,? he said via email. ?I feel badly for the many friends and colleagues who are younger and face a very uncertain future. And, of course, it?s sad to see the accelerating decay of the institution.?
Strini, 59, is stepping down after 27 years as classical music and dance writer and critic.
Business columnist Johnson-Elie also confirmed she is taking the buyout and Tuesday is her last day in the newsroom. Her last "Connections" column will appear in the newspaper on Wednesday, she said.
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