UPDATE: About one-third of The Times-Picayune's staff is being laid off today; read what the paper is reporting here.

Even as a coalition of major advertisers signs on to the grass-roots effort to keep a daily newspaper in New Orleans, staff members of The Times-Picayune begin learning Tuesday what the future holds for them with the venerable publication.

Citing sources, Gambit is reporting that employees have begun meeting with the paper’s newsroom brass — Editor Jim Amoss, City Editor Gordon Russell, Online Editor Lynn Cunningham, Features Editor Mark Lorando, Sports Editor Doug Tatum, and possibly others — to find out if they will have a job with the paper in the future and, if not, what their severance packages might be.

When news of parent company Advance Publications Inc.’s plan to cut back the paper’s distribution to Wednesday, Friday and Sunday only, slash the staff and shift its focus to digital news gathering broke in late May, a groundswell of opposition in the community was galvanized. On Monday, a group formed to lobby for keeping the T-P daily — The Times-Picayune Citizens’ Group — announced that nearly a dozen major newspaper advertisers including Ray Brandt Automotive Group, Latter & Blum and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry had joined the campaign.

But the rally doesn’t appear to be swaying Advance Publications. Incoming Publisher Ricky Mathews has said the changes are in the long-term interests of the paper and its parent company. When the changes go into effect this fall, New Orleans will become the largest U.S. city without a daily newspaper.

Read more here.

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