Saturday, May 15, 2021
May 15, 2021

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Columbian announces it’s laying off staff


The Columbian announced Wednesday that it will reduce its staff over the next few days as it continues to grapple with declining revenue in the newspaper business.

Publisher Scott Campbell said the plan is to reduce expenses, including payroll, by approximately 10 percent. The cuts will be shared across all of the company’s departments. The Columbian employs 219, including full- and part-time positions. Affected employees will receive a severance package.

There are no plans to reduce the size of the paper or its frequency. Campbell said The Columbian remains a profitable business, but it was necessary to reduce costs to keep it in the black. Campbell said The Columbian’s financial performance has been roughly in the “middle of the bell curve” compared with its peers.

However, the news industry, particularly newspapers, continue to struggle with the disruptive innovation of the internet. Sites such as craigslist have drawn off almost all of the classified advertising, and local retailers who were once the backbone of display advertising have increasingly lost ground to chain stores and web-based retailers.

Just two weeks ago The New York Times announced it would offer voluntary buyouts to staff, and billionaire industrialist Warren Buffett, a self-proclaimed fan of newspapers, recently told USA Today that he hasn’t seen any evidence yet that the industry is solving its revenue problems.

The last general round of layoffs at The Columbian was in 2008. Since then, most other news organizations in the Portland area have cut staff at least once.

Now in its 126th year, The Columbian has been owned by the Campbell family since 1923. The Campbells also own the Camas-Washougal Post Record, which was not part of Wednesday’s announcement.