At least five Sun newsroom staffers have taken a buyout, new hires expected

At least five members of The Sun's editorial staff have taken a buyout offered by Tribune Publishing, according to a newsroom source.

The list includes environmental reporter Tim Wheeler, investigations editor Dave Rosenthal, photo editor Robert Hamilton, Orioles writer Dan Connolly, and administrator Rosanna Uranachek. It's not clear if additional buyouts will be accepted by Tribune Publishing, who announced the "Voluntary Separation Program" back in October.

The Chicago Tribune reported on Nov. 12 that its parent company, which also counts the Los Angeles Times, The Sun, and City Paper among its holdings, approved a 7 percent staff reduction—7,000 employees were eligible for the buyouts.

The Sun has done some reshuffling in the wake of Rosenthal's departure, moving metro editor Laura Smitherman into his slot and shifting Eileen Canzian from editing politics to metro, the source said. Additionally, Diana Sugg, the last Sun staffer to win a Pulitzer Prize, in 2003, was brought on full-time as enterprise projects/editor after recently working on a contract basis. Sugg was in charge of Liz Bowie and Amy Davis' Unsettled Journeys package on immigrant students.

And the daily has made some hires in recent weeks, including bringing Sarah Meehan from the Baltimore Business Journal to be a dining reporter. According to the source, the newsroom recently filled beats covering business and health/education, though it hasn't been formally announced who will be in those roles.

Editors intend to hire for some of the vacated jobs, the source indicated, but it's not clear which ones and when.

City Paper has reached out to the departing staffers for comment.

Connolly, the first to respond, offered the following statement: "I truly feel fortunate to have spent more than a decade covering my favorite sport for my hometown newspaper. But now I'm ready for a new challenge and one that hopefully is a little more conducive to family life."

Hamilton sent this: "I'm grateful for 32 great years at this institution. The time flew by. It was my dream job to work at a major daily as a staff photographer and The Sun/Evening Sun provided that. After five years of shooting I transitioned into a position that would help lend a voice for visuals in the newsroom. It's been a honor to lead a great photo staff over the years and work with a lot of talented journalists and editors through the years.

"I know this isn't exactly biting stuff, but it is indeed how I feel.

"One other thing. I often hear my former Sun staffers complaining how the paper is a shell of its former self. They are correct in that changes have taken place, but change has always be a constant in this business. I've seen a lot in 32 years. What hasn't changed is the level of talent The Sun is able to draw upon through those years. This was never more evident during the unrest/riots in April. The Sun performed at an exceptional level with outstanding contributions coming from all departments. So as I leave The Sun, I do so knowing it is still top notch provider of content – in print and online."

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