King County Journal newspaper to restructure

BELLEVUE - Peter Horvitz, publisher of King County Journal Newspapers, has announced a restructuring of the newspaper that includes relocating 70 workers from Bellevue to Kent and eliminating up to 24 jobs by year's end.

The company plans to put its 24,000-square-foot headquarters building in Bellevue up for sale and will lease a smaller space that will become its new Eastside office.

The Journal's Kent facilities will be renovated to accommodate the additional workers and will become the company's new headquarters.

The staff relocations will occur over the next nine months, according to the March 24 announcement.

Staff reductions will occur both in Bellevue and Kent, and are expected to be achieved through attrition and layoffs. The cuts will leave King County Journal Newspapers with 341 workers.

No layoffs are planned at the company's weekly newspapers, which includes the Snoqualmie Valley Record.

The job cuts include Journal Editor Tom Wolfe, according to Executive Editor Barbara Morgan.

Wolfe's last day at the Journal was March 26. He had been editor since August 1995.

Horvitz said the decision to cut jobs and consolidate operations was difficult but necessary to align expenses with revenue projections.

Circulation for the King County Journal has dipped to 43,300, down 3,500 from a year ago. Much of that reduction, however, is the result of tighter circulation controls and efforts to reduce subscriber turnover, Horvitz said.

The Journal continues to lose money, as it has for several years, but it has significantly reduced its losses in the past year, Horvitz said.

Unfortunately, the continued downturn in the economy has absorbed those cost savings, he said.

Consolidating the Journal's operations "will give us a good chance to be a stable company for many years to come," Horvitz said. "While it's bitter medicine to take, it's better to take it so we have a future."

While the company is moving most of its employees to Kent, Horvitz said, "in no way does it signal that we are any less committed to covering the Eastside and being a good community member. We remain as committed as ever to serving readers both on the Eastside and in south King County."

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