Tough times at the The San Diego Union-Tribune - the paper wants to cut 43 newsroom employees. After buying out nineteen others last year, that’s over 10 percent of the 360 people the paper has left there. The buyouts are still voluntary (going for a year’s salary and six months of health benefits) but layoffs will follow if the target isn’t met. There is one small pearl to be found in the rough ocean, however. Environment reporters (in addition to politics and breaking news reporters, sports columnists, and some others) are not eligible for the buyouts. Science and environment journalists worry a lot (more than politics and sports desks) about the declining number of science sections and dedicated staff positions left in the United States. That the Union-Tribune will guard the jobs of a few environment reporters is good news in an otherwise upsetting situation.

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Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.