The Providence Journal announced today that it has laid off 16 members of the Providence Newspaper Guild and 7 non-union employees. I’m told that the layoffs included photographers and the A.H. Belo-owned newspaper’s only library employee. (Reporters and columnists were spared.)
“As far as I can recall,” says a ProJo staffer, “this is the first time the Journal has publicly announced its actions. Usually they do things internally and turn away requests for comment. But lately the local public radio station and a local TV station have set up blogs that occasionally comment on the Journal, and maybe the Journal got tired of having others break our news.”
executive editor Thomas E. Heslin if there’s a new policy regarding layoffs announcements and will post his comment when/if it comes in. (I’m told he’s on medical leave. I’ve now asked acting executive editor Karen Bordeleau for comment.)
UPDATE: Bordeleau sends this email:
Your reader’s recollection is incorrect. The Providence Journal has reported on union and non-union layoffs and pay cuts in stories on digital and/or print platforms on Sept. 4, 2008, Sept. 5, 2008, Feb. 28, 2009 and April 3, 2009. There is no question that it is difficult to report on challenges within our own organizations, but my contention is that this is necessary. If we expect other organizations to be transparent, we must lead the way. It is the right thing to do.
* Providence Journal lays off 23 fulltime employees (providencejournal.com)
* ProJo cuts 23 jobs; reporters and columnists spared (wrnipoliticsblog)
* “My heartfelt sympathies for laid-off ProJo employees” (rifuture.org)