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Area media outlets eliminating positions

Staff Report • Nov 26, 2008 at 12:00 AM

The Knoxville News-Sentinel is reporting that local companies have reported on a number of job cuts and layoffs in recent months, and the media aren't immune to the struggling economy.

On Friday, WBIR-TV offered a voluntary separation agreement to employees over the age of 55 who have 10 years of service, a move that comes on top of a consolidation effort that eliminated some jobs earlier this year.

Jeff Lee, general manager of the NBC affiliate - which is owned by the Gannett Co. - declined to give details about the severance offered under the deal, but said the program is in place at all the company's stations and blamed the economy for the cuts.

"It's a very difficult situation right now, and we're trying to … just make ourselves as efficient as possible," Lee said.

He said that in September, three employees were affected by a move to centralize graphics work at Gannett's Denver station, while some master control functions are also being centralized.

Meanwhile, WATE-TV earlier this year declined to fill some open positions, and a subsequent consolidation move by parent company Young Broadcasting resulted in the dismissal of three accountants, according to Gwen Kinsey, the station's president and general manager.

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