Sam Zell and his Tribune honchos spent a conference call this afternoon outlining some pretty substantial cuts at the Times and the company's other newspapers. Tribune will be tightening up the ratio of ads and editorial copy to 50-50, a move that will eliminate 82 pages a week, according to Chief Operating Officer Randy Michaels. Companywide, they're looking to cut 500 pages a week. Michaels noted that the Times will still be larger than the WSJ, which Zell & Co. were extolling during the call (not mentioning, of course, that the Journal is a national paper with far different advertising metrics than a metro daily like the Times). Besides fewer pages, look for a smaller newsroom. Michaels says that the average Times "journalist" writes the equivalent of 51 pages a year, while the average output in Hartford and Baltimore is around 300 pages. "You can eliminate a fair number of people while eliminating not much content," he said. He kept calling it the "right-sizing" of the newsrooms and promised "this is going to happen quickly." Michaels said that productivity decisions will not be made out of Chicago, but that "we think it's helpful data for our publishers. Here's the full conference call.
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