Eastern Carolina Newspaper Employees To See Pay Cuts

Employees at three Eastern Carolina newspapers found out they'll have to take a pay cut.

Freedom Communications owns the Jacksonville Daily News, Kinston Free Press, and New Bern Sun Journal. It announced Monday that all employees will take an across-the-board 5% pay cut.

The California-based newspaper, magazine and television station owner called the move a "painful but necessary step". Freedom CEO Burl Osborne says in this difficult climate they need to reduce expenses and accomplish it with the least impact on operations.

The cuts become effective July 13th. The same employees were already forced to take a 5-day furlough.

Earlier this month the three newspapers consolidated printing to Jacksonville and switched to a tabloid-style layout.

Company News Release

Freedom Communications announces company-wide wage reduction as economy continues to falter

Irvine, CA, June 29, 2009 – Freedom Communications, Inc. announced today an across-the-board 5% reduction in base pay for employees at all levels of the company. The reduction will be effective July 13.

“We are facing the challenge of a general economic situation that experts say will continue to remain weak for many months to come,” said Burl Osborne, Freedom Communications CEO. “In this very difficult climate we need to continue to reduce expenses, and we determined that the fairest way to accomplish this with the minimum impact on operations is the action we are announcing today.”

“This is a painful but necessary step as we continue the transformation of our company while delivering our valuable products and services to our customers, advertisers and communities,” Mr. Osborne added. “Our goal is maintaining a healthy business with a combination of cost initiatives and a focus on revenue while we weather the economic storm.”

Mr. Osborne said that continuation of a company-wide furlough program instituted during the previous quarter had been considered. But it was decided that the action announced today was the best way to reduce both uncertainty on the part of company employees and the impact on operations caused by furloughs.

About Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a national privately owned information and entertainment company of print publications, broadcast television stations and interactive businesses. The company’s print portfolio includes more than 100 daily and weekly publications, including just over 30 daily newspapers, plus ancillary magazines and other specialty publications. The broadcast company’s stations – five CBS, two ABC network affiliates and one CW affiliate – reach more than 3 million households across the country. The Company’s news, information and entertainment websites complement its print and broadcast properties.

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