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Jim Davis, Editor
jdavis@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, November 8, 2010

Weak ad revenue forces Herald to cut 10 jobs

EVERETT — The Herald laid off 10 employees, reduced the hours of five more and eliminated five vacant positions this week because of flagging advertising revenue.

“It starts with a difficult economy,” Allen Funk, president and publisher of The Daily Herald, said when asked to explain the layoffs. “The economy is forcing a lot of advertisers to cut back.”

Funk said the layoffs involved a variety of Herald departments and were intended to have as little effect as possible on newsgathering efforts for the Herald's online and print publications, which includes the Snohomish County Business Journal.

“We're trying to put out the best news effort possible,” he said. “We're looking at packaging the paper more efficiently, not cutting back on local information.”

Funk did say that some print editions of The Herald may have fewer pages because of the cutback on advertising, which has been occurring for several years.

He noted that in addition to cutbacks, some advertising has shifted online, which is less profitable for the company.

“It's harder to make money publishing online than it is in print,” Funk said. “It's harder to find ways to connect with advertisers on the web. The short message is that we're trying to be as creative as possible for advertisers to take advantage of our viewership online.”

Earlier this year, The Herald announced a cost-saving measure with the Seattle Times in which the Times will deliver The Herald in south Snohomish County. The Herald will deliver the Times in north Snohomish County and both will continue to deliver in the Everett area.

The move allowed The Herald to reduce its delivery staff by several people. Those positions weren't part of this week's layoffs.

Going forward, Funk said that digital publishing will continue to be a top priority for The Herald, as will growing its newspaper circulation, especially on Sundays.

The Herald was one of only two newspapers in Washington state to show circulation growth during the most recent report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.