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Sports Department Feels Sun Slash

By Dave Hughes

This week, the Baltimore Sun has cut about 60 editorial staffers in a big budget cut mandated by its bankrupt parent, the Chicago-based Tribune Company. And the cuts have hit the paper’s sports department.

Goodbye to Ray Frager, who joined the Sun’s sports department in 1985 and has been an assistant sports editor for more than 15 years. Frager penned a Friday print sports column plus his “Medium Well” blog.

While the Sun hasn’t yet officially released a list of the names of those cut, Frager did confirm his status on his Twitter page, writing, “I was among bunch at Baltimore Sun that got the axe today.”

Those who got pink-slipped Tuesday and Wednesday include assistant sports editors Frager and George VanDaniker. Also gone: sports columnists Rick Maese and David Steele and one of the top sports reporters, Bill Ordine. In fact, it has been reported that some of the sports guys got the word while sitting in the Camden Yards press box.

The casualties also include: deputy managing editor Paul Moore, editorial page editor Ann LoLordo, op-ed editor Larry Williams, medical/science/education editor Patricia Fanning, copy desk chief John McIntyre, systems editor Steve Auerweck, regional editor Jay Apperson, metro editor Eileen Canzian and photo assigning editor Chuck Weiss. Add to the list bureau chiefs Joe DeCarlo, Dan Clemens and Bill Caulfield.

Other Sun staffers, like crime columnist and blogger Peter Hermann and metro columnist Laura Vozzella, have been “bumped back” to reporting duties.

Apparently, the Sun even went so far as to station a security guard on the skywalk between the Sun's building and the employee parking garage.

Rumors abound that there could be more staffing changes and cuts through the end of May. Remaining journalists and their departing colleagues gathered at Mick O'Shea's bar, just blocks from the Sun, to say goodbye.

The newsroom now has 144 people, about half what it had less than three years ago. The Sun recently reported that its daily circulation fell 9.6 percent during the six months ended March 31. Paid weekday circulation declined from 232,360 to 210,098.

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For the past 11 years, Dave Hughes has been running www.DCRTV.com, which features Baltimore and Washington radio and TV news, gossip and commentary.

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