An e-mail ominously titled "staff changes" was moments ago circulated to employees of the Bay Area News Group in the East Bay. Kevin Keane -- the chain's executive editor and the author of the memo -- seems to have the same definition of "changes" that Mayor Gavin Newsom does for the word "solutions." Let's just say that the ranks of BANG-EB newsroom employees have just been thinned.
The company owns all the major dailies in the East Bay including the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and the Tri-Valley Herald.
"As part of our efforts to reduce expenses, we've accepted voluntary separation agreements from 11 newsroom employees," reads Keane's memo. After a listing of those 11 volunteers, almost as an afterthought, the memo lists six more employees who were straight-up laid off (though Keane words it differently; their "positions were being eliminated, effective immediately.").
Those six employees are: Sports reporter Jennifer Sparks*; food editor Jolene Thym; East County librarian Ginny Stemler; Tracy-based reporter Mike Martinez; Hawyard-based photographer Mike Lucia, and Fremont-based prep sportswriter Steve R. Waterhouse.
The 11 newsroom employees who volunteered to leave are:
Theatre critic Pat Craig; Copy editor Mike DeCicco; Alameda clerk Christine Harrington; copy editor Ben Hawkins, Hayward-based reporter Karen Holzmeister; East County-based reporter Paula King; Online news supervisor Kathleen Kirkwood; San Mateo-based reporter Christine Morente; copy editor Jeremiah Oshan; West County-based reporter Kimberly Wetzel; and copy editor Dave Carpenter.
*NOTE, July 17, 7:15 a.m.: It appears that, as a commenter posted, sportswriter "Jenny Sparks" really is "Jenny Starks." The commenter notes that Keane was forced to send a revised memo. To have one's name misspelled on a layoff e-mail list is a nightmare scenario indeed.