Herald Publisher Debbie Abels said Monday that no employees at The Herald will be laid off related to McClatchy's announcement that it will cut 10 percent of its work force. Instead, the Rock Hill-based newspaper has streamlined operating costs and eliminated some jobs through attrition in the past year.
"We, like any business inside and outside the industry, have felt the pinch of the economy. Nobody's saying it's smooth sailing. It's harder than it used to be," Abels said. "But we've been able to work with our advertisers ... make some smart cost-cutting moves and look at temporarily freezing some positions and at other times using vacancies as an opportunity to restructure."
While revenue declines have plagued other McClatchy newspapers, Abels said The Herald has witnessed a "mixed bag" since January, with revenue gains some months, declines in others.
She said the paper's recent addition of advertisements on the bottom of the sports and lifestyles sections' front pages have been a big hit with advertisers and a boon to the paper's bottom line. In the past year, The Herald also has reduced its operating costs in several areas, most noticeably to readers by cutting its Monday edition down to two sections instead of four.
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Abels said the company's audience continues to grow as it expands its online products. Monthly Web site visitors at Heraldonline.com have increased by as much as 141 percent since the beginning of the year, more than offsetting a decline in print circulation, she said.
Abels said she hopes any unseen revenue declines in the future can be offset with cost-cutting measures that don't include layoffs.
"Who knows what the future will bring?" Abels said. "But, overall, I think we're in a stronger position than much of the newspaper industry, and our current business plan is working."
-- Adam O'Daniel