News Cycle

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Archive for the ‘Newspaper Closures’ Category

Advertiser Sold to Star-Bulletin, Making Honolulu a One-Newspaper Town; 300 Laid Off

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The sale of The Honolulu Advertiser to Honolulu Star-Bulletin owner David Black was completed by Gannett this morning, leaving at least 300 people out of work and a community less served.

Rick Daysog of the Advertiser writes:

“It’s hard to close this chapter and begin a new one,” Robert Dickey, president of Gannett U.S. Community Publishing, wrote in an e-mail to Advertiser employees Friday. “But in doing so, I want to sincerely thank you for your dedication to The Honolulu Advertiser and wish you all the best.”

Gannett’s exodus and the eventual merger of The Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin will leave Honolulu as a one-newspaper town and result in the loss of at least 300 jobs.

For the next estimated 30 to 60 days, The Advertiser will publish as a stand-alone newspaper run by third-party HA Management Inc.

The two dailies will be merged into a single broadsheet newspaper known as The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which will have a combined daily circulation of 135,000 to 140,000, Dennis Francis, the Star-Bulletin’s publisher told Daysog. The Star-Advertiser will employ between 300 and 600 people. The two newspapers currently have 900 employees between them.

“I know there’s a lot of angst in the community about losing a newspaper but the community decided long ago that it could not support two newspapers,” Francis told Daysog. “That decision was made by readers and advertisers.”

Daysog also writes:

Former media executives say the loss of an editorial voice will have a long-lasting impact on the local community.

The layoff of scores of journalists will mean that hundreds of stories will go unwritten each year, they said.

“It’s a real tragedy,” said Gerry Keir, who worked at The Advertiser for 27 years, rising to editor before leaving in 1995. “I don’t think there’s any question that the community is the loser.”

Written by newscycle

May 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Weekly Peoria Times-Observer to Cease Publication

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Newspaper closures are playing in Peoria as the Time-Observer, a free weekly, has announced its last publication will be April 28. The newspaper had been delivered free to homes in North Peoria and Dunlap.

Citing the changing media landscape, TimesNewspapers’ publisher Linda Smith Brown announced the publication’s cessation.

“Our goal is to discern how to best serve the Peoria greater market and we are shifting our focus to Woodford County at this time,” Brown said.

“TimesNewspapers will be utilizing our manpower and resources to launch a new publication.”

Longtime editors of the Peoria Times-Observer, DeWayne Bartels and Tom Batters, will produce the new Woodford Times, which will begin publishing May 5, with delivery to Metamora, Eureka and Germantown Hills households, Brown said.

There is no word on the fate of the other six people listed in the staff’s contact box on its website. One of those people is Brown.

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March 31, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Newspaper Layoffs Drop in February

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Newspapers laid off fewer employees in February, as only 112 new job reductions were reported nationwide.

The caveat to this is that more than 600 employees of the Honolulu Advertiser have received notices of their possible layoff. They will lose their if David Black, owner of the Star-Bulletin, cannot find a buyer by May. If that happens, the two papers will merge and an undetermined number of layoffs will occur.

Here are February’s layoff reports.

Feb. 26: Skagit Valley Herald of Mount Vernon, Wash., nine people, according to Paper Cuts.
Feb. 24: The Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore., 14 people.
Feb. 24: Paddock Publications will begin printing the Northwest Herald, the Daily Chronicle, the Kane County Chronicle and the Lake County Journal, The MidWeek and other Shaw Suburban Media newspapers at its production facility in Schaumburg, Ill., near Chicago by mid-April, 31 people will be affected.
Feb. 24: Sun Tribune in the Kansas City area, 10 people.
Feb. 22: Whitehorse (Wash.) Community News, at least one person.
Feb. 18: Wilmington (N.C.) Star News, two people, a managing editor and a photo editor.
Feb. 18: Minneapolis Star Tribune, up to five people are being sought for buyouts.
Feb. 16: Naples (Fla.) Daily News, at least seven people.
Feb. 15: Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, two people.
Feb. 11: E.W. Scripps Co. will consolidate copy-desk operations of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star, the Redding (Calif.) Record Searchlight and the Kitsap (Wash.) Sun into the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, 15 people.
Feb. 6: Cincinnati Enquirer, 15 people.
Feb. 5: The Edmond (Okla.) Sun, one person — a business reporter.

Here are the totals for 2010:

January — 451 people.
February — 93 people.

For a map that locates these layoffs and others, see Paper Cuts, a website by Erica Smith, who has been tracking newspaper layoffs since 2007.

All of News Cycle’s monthly reports are categorized under Monthly Layoff Report.

A number of readers have asked by the discrepancy between our numbers and that of Paper Cuts. I counted in 2009’s figures a large Gannett layoff that was announced in December last year, but was not effective until January. In addition, I have not counted the Honolulu figure of 600 as of yet.

Email me to report any job cuts in the newspaper industry.

Written by newscycle

March 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Honolulu Newspaper Employees Wait for News About Their Job Layoffs

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Employees at Honolulu’s two newspapers are still trying to make sense of a buyout that could put them out of work, writes Duane Shimogawa of HawaiiNewsNow tonight.

Both dailies employ 900 people and all of their fates are still up in the air a day after news broke the owner of the Star-Bulletin is buying the Advertiser.

Union leaders say it’s still too early to tell how many people will be laid off. They say they haven’t met with the new owners just yet. But they did sit down with the Hawaii Newspaper and Printing Trades Council and later on Friday, they met with Gannett officials, the owners of the Advertiser, to talk about the future of employees of both papers.

There are a total of nine unions at both the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin that cover a total of about 600 employees, around 400 at the Advertiser and 200 at the Star-Bulletin.

The Hawaii Newspaper Guild represents employees from both papers.

“The company’s obligated to bargaining with us, Gannett to bargain with us over the effects of the sale and how it affects employees,” Hawaii Newspaper Guild’s Wayne Cahill said.

We do know retirees will keep their pensions and all workers will continue under their current contracts for now.

“The company has the right to do layoffs under both union contracts,” Cahill said. “They have to do any layoffs by seniority that is that most recently hired would be the first to be fired.”

Cahill says Advertiser employees are guaranteed their jobs until the day of the sale.

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February 26, 2010 at 11:58 pm

105,000 People Have Lost Jobs in Newspapers Since 2001

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Since the advent of the Internet age in 2001, about 105,000 people have lost their jobs in the U.S. newspaper industry, writes Erik Sass of MediaPost Publications. This represents at 25 percent drop over that period of time as the government reports that 309,000 people were employed by newspapers at the end of 2009.

To put that in perspective, the U.S. auto industry shed about 450,000 jobs over the same period, with total employment dropping from 1.3 million to 850,000, for a 33% decline. High-tech employment lost 700,000 jobs, slipping 11% from 6.6 million to 5.9 million. In short, the newspaper business is about where many would expect, in terms of percentage losses — worse off than high-tech but a little bit better than the auto industry.

Still, publishers have made an effort to preserve their newsroom headcounts, although some ax-swinging was clearly unavoidable. From 2001-2009, newspaper newsrooms lost a total 9,700 jobs, for a 17% decline from 56,400 to 46,700. The vast majority of cuts fell on business, administrative, production and circulation employees. (It’s also worth noting many senior newsroom staff with relatively high salaries were probably replaced with younger, lower-paid journalists at entry-level positions.)

More alarming is the rate of decline in both total employment and newsroom employment, which has accelerated markedly over the last decade.

After losing an average 3.5% per year from 2001-2006, in 2007-2009, the average rate of loss increased to 5% per year. After a period of relative stability, newsroom losses grew steeper toward the end of the period: Total employment declined by an average 1% per year from 2001-2006, then accelerated to 5% from 2007-2009, including an 11% drop from 2008-2009.

I would argue that the newsroom figure must be low. News Cycle recorded more than 15,000 jobs lost in the industry in 2009 alone. The vast majority of the losses were editorial. Erica Smith’s website Paper Cuts also came up with a similar number.

For full disclosure, I have been twice dismissed by layoff from newspaper positions, but only once during this time period.

Written by newscycle

February 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Whitehorse Community News Closes Its Doors

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The Whitehorse Community News, a monthly newspaper in the Darrington, Wash., area with about 2,000 readers, is closing its doors, Mike Benbow and Michelle Dunlop of the Everett (Wash.) Hearld write.

The owner, Joe Day, said the paper paid its expenses, but didn’t provide much revenue for himself. It was a lot of work, he noted. Day said he hates to see the paper shut down, but that nobody has stepped forward to continue producing it.

Amy Rolph of the Herald wrote about the apparent one-man operation on her blog:
His doctor says it’s time to walk away from the stress. And Day — worn down from years of proofreading and layout deadlines — finally agrees.

“Despite the growing public interest, our economy has dictated that the paper cannot stand on its own,” Day wrote in a letter to subscribers this month.

He broke tough news in the letter: “I don’t have any money to pay back the unused portion of your subscription.”

So just like a growing number of larger newspapers across the country, Day’s tiny labor of love ends with a sad finale: the farewell issue.

The Whitehorse Community news will print for the last time in early March.

“It’ll be all right,” said Day, talking Tuesday afternoon from his home in Darrington. “I’m sad to see it go — and I’m really glad it’s going. It’s an incredible amount of work. It’s really draining.”

In his February issue, Day solicited other community members to step up and take over the paper’s publication. But so far, no one else seems to want to work for free, he said.

The paper’s mission statement is printed on the second page of its February issue, featuring a conspicuous use of the past-tense.

“The purpose of this newspaper was to provide a forum for discussion, a platform for inexpensive business advertising, a source for local information and a place for aspiring writers to be published.”

Day said the paper served a more personal purpose, too. A former union electrician, he studied graphic design at Everett Community College after an injury left him unable to work.

“But nobody wanted to hire a 53-year-old graphic designer who had no practical experience,” Day said. “That was quite a blow for me. I had to do something with my time.”

Day told Rolph that he never saw a reason for a website: “(The website) never materialized, and I didn’t see any reason for it anyway. It’s just for Darrington, a way to give folks around here a voice.”

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February 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

U.S. Newspaper Layoffs in January; Numbers Down, But Trouble Signs Ahead

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Newspapers in the United States reported layoffs and job cuts of 500 people throughout the month of January, News Cycle finds. It’s only one-fifth of the 2,252 layoffs reported in January 2009.

The largest cut came as The Los Angeles Times announced on Jan. 8 that it would shut down its printing operations in Orange County, leaving 80 people out of work.

On the same day, the Booth Newspaper group announced that it will lay off workers at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle and Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, but did not report the number of people to be let go. The website Paper Cuts reported 19 job losses from the Chronicle, 65 from the Press, and at least 70 from the Gazette. Paper Cuts also reported that advertising production will be outsourced to a Pennsylvania company. An outbound call center for the three newspapers will be consolidated in Kalamazoo, and copy editing, design and printing for the three papers will be consolidated in Grand Rapids.

Despite the lower layoff numbers to start this year, local TV, radio, newspapers, and national magazines likely will sustain further revenue declines (albeit at decelerating rates), according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

Editor and Publisher.com writes:

S&P notes that while the last part of 2009 should “bring easier year-over-year financial comparisons … the credit outlook is still grim for these issuers, and we think that even the first quarter of 2010 could still see lower revenues and earnings.”

Online media keeps grabbing advertising share from traditional media. Search related advertising will keep growing while total online ad spend will be likely flat to down. Mobile and online video advertising is anticipated to “sprout vigorously,” according to S&P.

Meanwhile, last week MAGNA released its 2010 ad forecast and concluded that Q1 of this year will represent the last quarter of decline for the U.S. advertising economy this recession. MAGNA revised its advertising outlook for 2010 to flat (down 0.1%) from a decline of 1.3%.

This year, advertising spending direct online is anticipated to grow 12.2%, while local online is forecast to increase 3.7%. National newspapers (excluding online advertising) are expected to loose 11.2% in ad revenue in 2010. Ad spending at local newspapers (also excluding online revenue) should drop 10.7%.

Here are the layoffs in the U.S. newspaper industry, as recored by News Cycle:

Jan. 31: Santa Maria (Calif.) Times, five people.
Jan. 29: Pocono Business Journal, will end its monthly publication with the February issue. Three people will be let go.
Jan. 29: Jackson (Miss.) Sun, 11 people.
Jan. 22: Greenwood Lake and West Milford News in upstate New York, ceases publication; seven people.
Jan. 21: Longview (Texas) News-Journal, 11 people.
Jan. 20: Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald, seven people.
Jan. 20:The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., nine people.
Jan. 19: Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, 16 people.
Jan. 19: Charlotte Observer, 25 people.
Jan. 14: The State of Columbia, S.C., 12 people. The paper let go more than a dozen workers in June 2008 and 38 workers in March 2009.
Jan. 14:The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., two people.
Jan. 13: The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, 28 people. Seventeen more unfilled positions were eliminated as well.
Jan. 13:The South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, 10 people.
Jan. 12: The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, 25 people.
Jan. 12: –The Sunday News of Lancaster, Pa., six people.
Jan. 11: The News & Observer of Raliegh, N.C., 21 people.
Jan. 9: Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, two people, including the executive editor. An additional position of news director was eliminated.
Jan. 8: The Los Angeles Times will shut down its printing operations in Orange County, 80 people.
Jan. 8:The Booth Newspaper group says it will lay off workers at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle and Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, but did not report the number of people to be let go. But Paper Cuts reports 19 job losses from the Chronicle, 65 from the Press, and at least 70 from the Gazette. Paper Cuts reports that advertising production will be outsourced to a Pennsylvania company, and tht 100 will be let go from the Gazette. An outbound call center for the three newspapers will be consolidated in Kalamazoo, and copy editing, design and printing for the three papers will be consolidated in Grand Rapids.
Jan. 7: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 27 editorial people, mostly on the copy desk.
Jan. 6: The Flint (Mich.) Journal, six people.
Jan. 6: The Telegraph of Hudson, N.H., three people, according to Paper Cuts.

Here is a month-by-month breakdown of the 15,114 job losses in the newspaper industry in 2009:

December — 752 people.
November — 293 people.
October — 375 people.
September — 347 people.
August — 425 people.
July — 2,505 people.
June — 318 people.
May — 1,084 people.
April — 1,350 people.
March — 3,943 people.
February — 1,492 people.
January — 2,256 people.

Here are the totals for 2010:

January — 451 people.
February — 93 people.

For a map that locates these layoffs and others, see Paper Cuts, a website by Erica Smith, who has been tracking newspaper layoffs since 2007.

All of News Cycle’s monthly reports are categorized under Monthly Layoff Report.

A number of readers have asked by the discrepancy between our numbers and that of Paper Cuts. I counted in 2009’s figures a large Gannett layoff that was announced in December last year, but was not effective until January. In addition, I have not counted the Honolulu figure of 600 as of yet.

Email me to report any job cuts in the newspaper industry..

Written by newscycle

February 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

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