Report: Lee newspapers are laying off copy desk staffers

More layoffs at struggling newspaper chain Lee Enterprises?

Tipster #1: “I heard that employees at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa, flagship paper for Davenport-based Lee Enterprises, were told that copy desk jobs would be moving to design hubs in either Madison, Wis., or Lincoln, Neb. They will get to reapply for their jobs. I’m not sure how many employees at the Times this affects or how many other Lee papers are involved.”

I’ve left a message for Times executive editor Jan Touney.

Unknown
Tipster #2: “Heard late last week that the entire copy desk at the La Crosse Tribune, a Lee Enterprise paper, will be laid off this summer and copy editing functions moved to the Wisconsin State Journal. The Tribune already was handling copy editing duties for sister paper the Winona Daily News in Minnesota. Wonder how many other desks have been closed in the recent budget cuts, and where copy editing will be done at other Lee papers.”

I asked Tribune executive editor Chris Hardie and he replied: “The person you need to contact is Dan Hayes, vice president of communications for Lee. You can reach him at 563-383-2163 or dan.hayes@lee.net.”

I contacted Hayes a few days ago and didn’t hear back, which isn’t surprising. He’s about 0 for 5 when it comes to returning my phone calls — no doubt because of my coverage of Lee CEO Mary Junck’s various bonuses and multi-million-dollar compensation packages.

Do you have information about Lee’s layoffs and copy desk plans? Email me at jim@jimromenesko.com

UPDATE — Many tips are coming in. Thanks for them.

>>> Carlisle Sentinel editor George Spohr: “The information listed here earlier about cuts to the copy desk in Carlisle is inaccurate. Although eventually we expect to take advantage of a regional design center, local copy editing will remain at the local level.”

>>> A reader sends this just-posted story about Lee’s regional design centers.

>>> Another tipster says all Lee newspapers except for the Post-Dispatch, however, will be designed at one of three hubs — they’re in Munster, Madison and Lincoln — by the end of next year.

>>> “What I’ve been told by current Quad-Cities Times staff is that as many as 12 newsroom positions will be eliminated with this move.”

>>> A reader says five copy editors at the Racine (Wis.) Journal Times were given notice.

>>> “St. Louis Post-Dispatch lost two senior copy editors last week.”

* Gene Weingarten in 2008: “The era of the copy editor is gone” (washingtonpost.com)

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