After only recently announcing that Kansas City Star employees will be required to take yet another week of unpaid “vacations,” the newspaper stunned newsroom employees today by laying off eight full-time staffers, including enormously popular newsroom IT dude Chase Clements.
“The Kansas City Star on Tuesday announced it was laying off eight full-time and four part-time employees as well as eliminating several open positions,” the Star writes on its Website. “Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish said the job eliminations were a difficult step that comes as the newspaper continues to ‘restructure and strategically reinvent’ its operations.”
The surprise moved was a jaw dropper to an already demoralized staff after more than four years of severe cutbacks and layoffs that have seen the Star staff shrink from more than 2,000 in 2003/2004 to around 700.
“You know the Star is dying on the vine if they’re going to let people like Chase go,” said one staffer. “This place is just going to wither and die. If those are the kind of people the Star is going to lay off then they are truly hosed.”