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Las Vegas Review-Journal cuts staff across paper

Updated Friday, Aug. 19, 2011 | 4:55 p.m.

Nevada's largest newspaper has trimmed staff from each of its departments in its latest bid to make the operation more efficient, the publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal said Friday.

Publisher Bob Brown declined to say how many people lost their jobs in the most recent round of layoffs, but he confirmed the layoffs affected all departments, including the newsroom. Some of the newspaper's operations hadn't been re-evaluated in decades, Brown said.

"This is about growing this enterprise, and I want to be able to do that," Brown said. "To do that we've got to innovate, we've got to change with the times and we've got to become more aggressive."

In February, the paper laid off 12 employees and got rid of a special projects unit.

Brown said no one enjoys layoffs, but he expects Nevada's largest newspaper to be a leaner organization committed to local news. The newspaper has an average daily circulation of 166,000, and 190,000 on Sundays, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' most recent figures.

"Our advertisers and readers will see absolutely no impact at all," he said. "We're not losing any story count, we're not losing any pages, we're not losing any features."

Brown said the newspaper will be printed on one press instead of two, and that the newsroom plans to shift to a universal copy desk. Now separate editing desks handle stories for each section.

The newspaper's website also ended RJTV, a video outfit providing daily headlines, because it was not generating enough clicks, he said.

Brown said delivery of the newspaper won't be affected.

Jeff Wolf, a motorsports writer who had worked at the newspaper since 1999, said he had no ill will toward the newspaper because he thought that if he hadn't been laid off, someone else would have been.

"It's a tough fiscal climate," Wolf said. "I guess sometimes if the ship's taking on water, it's maybe better to sacrifice a few passengers than let everybody go down."

"Hopefully this will help them get things in order and continue on for a long time," Wolf said.

Wolf said he didn't know how many of his fellow Review-Journal employees were laid off.

Brown said the newspaper plans to focus on digging into local news and covering such topics as schools, law enforcement and city government more comprehensively than any other local outlet.

"That's an important charge and we take that really seriously," Brown said. "That's our mission statement, is to really help the people of southern Nevada by really improving their lives. I think we need to really focus on that."

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