AP reduces workforce

The layoffs come as the news cooperative moves forward with plans to lower fees newspaper and broadcast members pay.
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The consequences of the leaner times in TV news and at newspapers continued its ripple effect this week as the Associated Press went through with plans to pare expenses by reducing its workforce.

On Tuesday, the news cooperative laid off an undisclosed number of journalists and followed up that move on Wednesday with more cuts. The News Media Guild, the union representing about 1300 journalists and technology workers at the Associated Press, said Wednesday that 71 of its members were affected. No tally of nonunion management layoffs was available.

The layoffs come as the news cooperative lowers the fees it charges U.S. newspapers and broadcasters, which have been hit hard by declining advertising revenue — and in the case of newspapers, dwindling circulation.

According to an AP report, the news cooperative receives 42 percent of its revenue from newspapers and broadcasters in the United States. This year, the AP reduced the fees it charges U.S. newspaper members by $30 million, and next year it plans to follow up with a $45 million cut in the fees it charges newspapers and broadcasters, the report said.

The Associated Press told employees at its AP Television News operation in Tallahassee, FL, earlier in November that their positions would be eliminated by the end of the year, the News Media Guild said in a press statement.

The layoffs are the biggest staff reductions at the Associated Press since 2006, when about 100 technology workers were released. About 100 AP employees accepted an early retirement package earlier this year, the union said.