The Salt Lake Tribune laid off five of its employees Monday afternoon, and after the bloodletting at the Deseret News last year, that almost seems like good news.
Full disclosure: I was a Tribune reporter for eight years, from 1999 to 2007, and several friends who want to remain anonymous confirmed the rumors that started spreading via Twitter and Facebook Monday afternoon—the axe that many inside the newsroom have been expecting for a long time finally fell on a few. The firings were spread across several departments, and included copy editors, artists, newsroom assistants and reporters.
You might recall the scene last August, when the Deseret News fired roughly half its staff in a move to become more digitally oriented. While there's been some change in the upper echelon of Media News Group—the company that owns the Tribune—in recent weeks, word is that just about a week ago at the Tribune offices, employees were assured that the upper management movements wouldn't lead to layoffs.
The bright side for Trib employees, if there ever were one in these situations, is that the Trib, at least so far, isn't going down the road of the D-News. On the other hand, a letter last week to employees from new Trib corporate boss John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media, Inc. (a merger of Media News Group and the Journal Register Company) indicates he might be inclined to one day follow in the D-News digital footsteps.