Times staffers who fear another budget shoe dropping this week (and the rumors are strong about some hammer falling tomorrow) won't be reassured by the word that swept through their sister paper the Chicago Tribune today. A newsroom source says reporter groups were called in and told by their editors that the Tribune Company board met Monday and instructed deeper cuts, including layoffs, to be completed by early December. "Everybody's head is on the chopping block," an editor reportedly said. Former Tribune reporter John Cook blogs that efforts to trim the staff by attrition failed and that veterans are being informally floated a voluntary severance package of two week's salary for every year worked, up to 52 weeks. If not enough take the bait, layoffs may follow, he says. At the LAT, rumors are swirling about closure of some foreign bureaus (Vienna and Rio de Janeiro are said to be targeted.) Numbers of possible staff reductions—again, all just rumors—range from 75 to 150 through a combination of buyouts and layoffs.
* A newsroom editor adds: The decision to shutter Vienna and Rio and relocate the correspondents (Alissa Rubin and Henry Chu, respectively) to existing bureaus was made earlier. (It hasn't happened yet.) Also, the Times presence in Istanbul will be dropped upon the departure of investigative reporter Douglas Frantz to become one of the paper's managing editors. 5:15 pm