Executive Editor Rips Up Newsroom Pink Slip List

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the wake of the resignation of its publisher earlier in the week, the San Jose Mercury News has announced that it will not execute planned layoffs, according to The Associated Press.

In his abrupt resignation on Monday, the Knight Ridder newspaper's former publisher, Jay Harris, blasted the chain's mandated budget cuts that he said would have required the layoff of an unspecified number of employees.

Mr. Harris' action, which made headlines across the country, also caused many newsroom staff members to stage a brief work stoppage in protest of their employer's fiscal policies.

On Tuesday, according to the AP, the newspaper's executive editor, David Yarnold, climbed onto a chair, ripped up papers he said were a pink slip list, and told editorial staffers that those on the list would not be cut. Instead, he said, 20 positions would be eliminated over time through attrition, slashed freelance budgets and other measures.

Meanwhile, Knight Ridder CEO Tony Ridder announced that a replacement for Mr. Harris would be named within two weeks.

Letter attacks 'profit targets'
The 51-year-old Mr. Harris is well known in national journalism circles and was a rising star at the Mercury News. In a letter to the staff on Monday, Mr. Harris said he hoped his resignation would force the newspaper chain to "closely examine the wisdom of the profit targets we've been struggling to find a way to meet."

On Tuesday, Tony Ridder told reporters at the Mercury News that he was "shocked" at the dramatic and unexpected manner in which Mr. Harris resigned. He also said the corporation was lowering its profit expectations for the paper and its Web site, which are widely viewed as the leading publications of Silicon Valley.

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