Tribune denies report of mass layoffs at Newport News Daily Press

A tipster tells me that the Tribune-owned Daily Press in Newport News, VA “laid off some 30 people last Friday and Monday, but will not send out an email because they don’t want it to get into your hands.” The correspondent goes on:

Three were in the newsroom – photo editor Dennis Tennant, deputy metro editor Fred Gaskins [he was actually metro editor] and 40-year features writer Kathy Van Mullekom. Others supposedly came from circulation, but I can’t imagine how it was more than a couple, since the DP does most of that on a contract basis. I suspect it could be outsourcing press operations – the operations manager was one of those laid off – but don’t know. They are refusing to acknowledge, let alone report on their own layoffs – even as they write about other local businesses that have layoffs.

A local blogger (he claims to be a journalist, which might bite him hard in the hind quarters) just published a story saying the DP was laying off 150 of its remaining 300 employees. There’s been no federal WARN notice, so I really doubt he is right. He had no attribution and, frankly, I don’t think they have 300 still there with HR outsourced, most of the desk in Chicago and a newsroom with fewer than 80 total.

Tribune spokesman Gary Weitman says the blogger’s report of 150 pink slips “is just nowhere near the truth.” He adds: “There is some reorganization going on there, but it’s not anywhere approaching those kinds of numbers.”

He declined comment on the numbers given by my tipster.

UPDATE: Daily Press publisher Digby Solomon put out this statement:

Our business model continues to adapt – including rapid growth in our digital audiences and revenue – and as a result The Daily Press Media Group is continuously re-evaluating the skill sets we need among our employee base. Last week we eliminated the jobs of 30 employees who have been loyal contributors and who will be missed, but were in positions that we no longer require. We currently have 15 job openings for various areas in the company, including our newsroom and our advertising sales group.

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  1. Dave Barnes said:

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?