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State of play: Lee Enterprises

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Last updated Feb. 14, 2023

Lee Enterprises told some employees in February that they will need to take a two-week, unpaid furlough or accept a salary reductions.

  • Lee has not approached the unions of three Virginia papers that are represented by Washington Baltimore News Guild, local representative Paul Reilly tells Axios in an email.
  • United Media Guild, which represents staffers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Southern Illinoisan, also has not been notified of furloughs, says Carson.
  • "In the past, we have agreed to it. I'm not sure which way members [would] vote on it this time," Carson says in a phone call. "During COVID, we took a two-week furlough, and I think people were like, 'OK, I understand what's going on. I understand the economic pressure.'"
  • "Being a journalist at any newspaper company now kind of feels like you're in an abusive relationship sometimes," Carson says.

Between the lines: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently let go of its librarian, the last remaining staffer of its once "robust" library and research department, Carson says.

  • "The size of our news staff at the Journal Star is now less than half of what it was when I started in 2014, even though the issues and people we are covering are increasingly complex and nuanced," Lincoln Journal Star reporter Chris Dunker says over text.
  • "The loss in wages adds insult to injury as many haven't received a pay raise in years and are now dealing with inflation the same as everyone else," Dunker says. "We want to serve readers and cover our communities with depth and sensitivity, but [this] corporate model ... is making that almost impossible."
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