Utah's oldest newspaper, the Mormon-owned Deseret News, is laying off nearly half of its staff in a major restructuring based on financial problems.
Jay Evensen, the News' editorial page editor, writes in a blog post today that the cuts are due to a loss of advertising dollars. The paper was bleeding out money despite holding steady in circulation and a 20 percent increase in overall readership in 2009, Evensen writes.
Much of that new readership, evidently, came in the way of online readers. And as anyone following the news industry knows, ads purchased for online viewing are way cheaper than print ads. As local blogger Greg Patterson often writes (with an evil touch of glee), the business model of newspaper is broken.
The News reports that it will lay off 57 full-time workers and 28 part-time workers from its newsroom in the restructuring, which also involves a closer partnership with Utah's KSL radio and TV networks (also owned by the Church of Latter-Day Saints).
The Deseret News, (circulation 72,000) has had a joint operating agreement with SLC's other major newspaper, the larger Salt Lake City Tribune, since 1952. The two papers combine business and advertising operations, but the latter paper, owned by Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group, won't be affected by the changes.