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Tribune Co. to cut 700 jobs at newspaper division

Tribune Co. says it’s eliminating about 700 jobs at its newspapers, which include The Baltimore Sun.

Spokesman Gary Weitman says the cuts will take place over the next year. In addition to The Sun, Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and five other daily newspapers.

The company’s reporting staff won’t be affected, but there will be small reductions in other editorial areas.

Angie Kuhl, unit chair of the Sun’s Newspaper Guild, a part of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild unit, said news of Tribune Co.’s 700 layoffs took her by surprise, despite weeks of rumors of pending cuts.

“It definitely took my breath away,” she said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve already had enough reductions. I don’t see how many more they can do.”

The cuts account for about 6 percent of Tribune Co.’s workforce.

Kuhl said there is a sense of anxiety in the Sun building at 501 N. Calvert St. Details of the cuts and which departments would be impacted had not been announced.

“Two people were laid off today — a marketing manager and an IT person,” she said. “For our Guild members, our contract states we have a 30-day notification for layoffs, and that will mean we will know by next week in order to meet a deadline for the end of year.”

The Guild contract with The Sun is set to expire in June 2014. Negotiations for the 170 remaining union members are planned to open in the spring.

Chicago-based Tribune emerged from a four-year stint under bankruptcy protection last December. In the months since, it has focused on boosting profitability at its broadcast division. It plans to spin off its publishing business by mid-2014.

Melody Simmons and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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