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Last week the Sun-Times laid off five of the journalists in its newsroom, including Lewis Lazare, who — as evidence of how stretched the staff there already was — covered media, advertising, and aviation. It was tempting to view the layoffs as an immediate response to the sudden death of Sun-Times Media chairman James Tyree the day before. More likely they were made in anticipation of the next Audit Bureau of Circulation report, which will be issued at the end of the month and is expected to bring more bleak news to the nation's dailies and the advertisers they've hung on to.
On Monday the Daily Herald laid off its man in the Loop — Cook County government reporter Ted Cox. Apparently it's not just in the movies that the calculation is made that the only hope of climbing out of a hole is to cut off one arm. Lazare and Cox are two of hundreds of names lost in the plague that's devastated newspapers — but they're two with Reader history. Throughout the 90s, Lazare wrote a culture column for this paper; and from 1983 until 2008 Cox freelanced the Reader's sports column. He's continued to contribute occasionally, and maybe now he can pick up the pace.
Cox commented on Facebook Monday night: "To quote Jim Bouton's 'Ball Four': 'And then I died.'"