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Mon January 19, 2009
Former reporter: Job cuts may hinder reporting at Star-Tribune
By Peter O'Dowd
Casper, WY – A former reporter who was one of 15 employees laid off by the Casper Star-Tribune last week says it will be more difficult for Wyoming's only statewide paper to cover important beats like the environment.
Chris Merrill says he was the only environment reporter at the newspaper before he was laid off. He says the editor will do his best to pick up the slack, but the job will be more difficult: "It's better to have a reporter focusing on the issues, developing expertise specific to that area. It's harder to do a good job in a piecemeal fashion."
The company that owns the paper, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises, is struggling to repay debt in the midst of declining revenue and a weakening economy. Its stock price has fallen below 40 cents. The Casper Star-Tribune did not respond to numerous attempts for comment.