Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan has canceled government-paid newspaper and magazine subscriptions for all agency officials below the assistant secretary level in a round of cost-cutting he says will save the department $391,184 a year.

Donovan also plans to clip the department's clipping service, consolidate its three television production studios into one unit, and take away most executive television sets to achieve a total cost saving of more than $1.2 million annually.

"In typical Washington fashion, some spending molehills had grown to hillock size and were on their way to becoming small mountains. A few extra newspapers here and another magazine or two there, and before you know it, you're looking at thousands of dollars," the secretary said.

None of the canceled publications is expected to suffer irreparable harm from Donovan's economies. The Washingon Post, for example, will lose 36 subscriptions, The New York Times will lose 58, and the Wall Street Journal 78.

But costly periodicals specializing in government regulations, such as the weekly Occupational Safety and Health Reporter published by the Bureau of National Affairs Inc., will be stung. The department is knocking off 275 of its 300 yearly subscriptions to the BNA publication, which costs $300 for a year's subscription.

"That's a hell of a hunk of change to lose," a BNA official said last week. "We certainly don't like losing that many subscriptions at once. But we won't be crippled."

Cancellation of newspaper and magazine subscriptions won't hurt the department's public relations functions or the intellectual growth of its executives, departmental spokesman Earl Cox said.

"We have in no way cut back on the tools that are essential to the job. But there's no reason why the government should have to pay for subscriptions" to help officials "satisfy their curiosity," Cox said.

He said some officials already have grumbled about elimination of the perks. "But they can buy their own newspapers," he said. CAPTION: Picture, RAYMOND J. DONOVAN. . . wants to save $391, 184 a year