The Skagit Valley Herald in Mount Vernon, which is building a new printing plant and seemed to be in healthy financial shape, yesterday announced it was cutting staff, including its managing editor, Don Nelson (left), onetime editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal in Seattle. "The business of running a newspaper is affected like any other in this economy," Publisher Stedem Wood said. "Our revenues have been affected by reduced sales in real estate, automotive, retail, help wanted and other areas." The ten percent staff reduction included a news assistant and two reporters, according to the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild. A Guild blog post, noting that it's usually the rank-and-file who get the ax in the ongoing downsizing of America's newspapers, said "jaws dropped" when Nelson's departure was announced. Said the Guild: "Scuttlebutt is, Nelson and Wood were headed for a parting of the ways for some time. Although the company offered voluntary buyouts with a surprisingly good package, most of the staff believe that Nelson's departure was under pressure..." The changes - Nelson's name is already removed from the masthead - seem to leave the next-ranking editor, city editor Dick Clever, in charge. Clever's a former Times/P-I/SWeekly reporter.