Pelham wrote: "What would've happened if there had been a works council and generous labor representation at Creative Loafing? Would there have been wide-scale layoffs? Possibly (German councils often agree to layoffs, though they effort to minimize the damage). Would the same group of stellar journalists have lost their jobs? Maybe less likely. Would Alison True still be editor? Maybe, maybe not."
Prior to the sale, but when the situation was obviously desperate, one staff member suggested in a staff meeting that we might all take salary cuts in order to maintain quality for the time being. The then publisher quickly and firmly dismissed the idea, and there was no further public discussion AFAIK. I don't know why; such ideas were certainly never any part of the culture of the company (never had to be, when it was basically a license to coin money), and such a collective interest by employees in preserving the institution might have scared away some potential buyers.
But at least it was an attempt to address the ongoing problem, which was economic and not editorial. Unfortunately it would have only been a stopgap without the discovery of a way to increase revenue.
Neither this post nor the CJR article gives the full context. When Conroy was fired, the entertainment and food coverage of the paper was not gutted. The editor was faced with a drastic budget cut, not a direct order to dismiss the Reader's best writer.
You can go down with all flags flying, or you can go down by doing what you know the empty corporate heads want. The ending is the same either way.
Editorial wasn't the problem, and it's not the solution. The Reader hasn't been itself since about 2005, when the futile process of making it look and sound like all the others began to take shape. The paper's economic foundation migrated to the internet, and nobody has had the wit or the energy to figure out a workable alternative. Sauve qui peut!