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East Valley Tribune to be Gutted in a Massive Downsizing

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By Ray Stern

The East Valley Tribune will publish just four days a week, lose its Scottsdale and Tempe coverage and undergo massive layoffs, according to sources who just attended a meeting with the paper's publisher.

Trib publisher Julie Moreno addressed the staff at a highly anticipated (and not in a good way) big meeting this morning at the Mesa Arts Center. By initial accounts, the news was worse than expected.

Here are the unconfirmed rumors now leaking out from multiple sources (clarifications, if necessary, will be published here in an updated blog):

* The Trib will close its Scottsdale office and quit delivering to homes in Scottsdale and Tempe.

* It will publish just four days a week.

* Large layoffs of more than 100 people are coming. Essentially, about half the staff will be gone by January 5.

Say what you will about the Tribune, but this is a terrible development for journalism in the Valley. A less spunky and capable Trib means less local news will be mined overall -- and the entire Phoenix metro area will be poorer for it.

UPDATE: The Trib posted its own article about Moreno's meeting, confirming the ugly details. The story states 142 people will be laid off, and the new publication days will likely be Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The paper's Web site will continue to publish news about the core readership area -- Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert -- seven days a week.

Also, check out this new article about the Trib's parent company, Freedom Communications, which more gives the macro view of what's happening.

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