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Industry Standard trims staff by 17 percent

The New Economy business weekly cuts 69 jobs, offering laid-off employees severance packages, computers and other benefits.

Standard Media International, publisher of New Economy business weekly The Industry Standard, cut 69 jobs Wednesday, or 17 percent of its staff.

In an e-mail to employees, Chief Executive John Battelle called the layoffs "deep" and "painful." He apologized for any stress the management may have caused by remaining mum about the prospect of layoffs despite a flurry of news stories on the issue.

Laid-off employees received a severance package, computer and other benefits.

The company has suffered since the economic downturn in April, which triggered the death of many dot-coms and caused a steep drop in ad sales. This is the second round of staff cuts in as many months; 36 employees were let go in January.

The Standard is not the only publication facing tough times. Some of the magazine's stiffest competitors have also trimmed their staffs recently in efforts to reduce costs. Future Networks, publisher of 134 titles, said it would cut about 20 unprofitable magazines and rethink strategies for Business 2.0.

In the Standard e-mail, Battelle said he had hoped that staff cuts in January would be enough, but "we reluctantly concluded that we had to do this to make it through a soft market." Unlike the earlier layoffs, Wednesday's cuts included members of the editorial staff.

Battelle could not immediately be reached for comment.