In early September, News Corp. sold its Dow Jones Local Media Group — 33 newspapers — to the majority shareholder of GateHouse Media.
I’m getting reports today of “bloodbaths” at some of the former Dow Jones papers.
The Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record has confirmed my tipsters’ reports that the paper has laid off its four staff photographers and will now rely on freelancers.
At GateHouse-owned Cape Cod Media Group, seven full-time and 10 part-time employees were laid off today.
A former Times Herald-Record staffer tells Romenesko readers: “To put this in perspective, the four staff photographers at the Record had nearly 100 years in combined photojournalism experience, including one that had to be there for nearly 35 years.”
The paper says three “newsroom manager jobs” were eliminated. I’m told the positions are senior editor for local news; city editor; and assistant sports editor. My tipster writes: “The city editor had been at the newspaper for more than 40 years in some capacity. He was tough and respected by everyone in that newsroom, and they didn’t even give him the dignity of retiring. Just threw him out.”
The Times Herald-Record was Dow Jones Local Media Group’s flagship paper.
The layoffs memo to Cape Cod Media Group employees is after the jump.
November 1, 2013
To: Cape Cod Media Group Colleagues
From: [Publisher] Peter Meyer
Re: Staff Reductions
Seventeen employees across Cape Cod Media Group were released today to better align company expense with current revenue levels. In all, seven full-time and 10 part-time colleagues departed.
Several departments were affected in an effort to spread the impact and preserve award-winning journalism, stellar customer service and the strength of our products across the Cape Cod Media Group. We appreciate the valuable contribution made by our departing colleagues and wish them well.
Our company remains profitable, but profitability has declined steadily since 2009. We’ve implemented a number of expense-savings measures along the way to avoid layoffs including a wage freeze, newsprint conservation efforts, consolidation of operations, and general expense savings. Nevertheless, revenue challenges continue as we shift from a print-centric focus to a multiplatform media company.
We’ve seen a great deal of success in efforts to grow our digital business – we offer a wide array of digital marketing services including Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, website design, social media services and multiple forms of Internet marketing; we also serve the most comprehensive local news and information available across multiple devices (tablet, mobile, desktop).
Our transition from a newspaper company to a multi-platform information provider is well underway, but like the rest of the industry we continue to search for a business model that will shift overall revenue into growth mode. Clearly, this race to transition our business is a marathon rather than a sprint. We will have setbacks and victories along the way, and we will persevere.
It is important to know that new ownership is not at fault for today’s actions. Any buyer would have taken similar action based on financial realities. This was a painful but necessary step to position the Cape Cod Media Group for future success.
We will support our departing friends, and we will look ahead to embrace the future. The Cape Cod Media Group is the most relied upon news and information source in the marketplace. We have 250 colleagues focused on serving readers and advertisers, far more than any other local media company. The quality of our products and services, both print and digital, are celebrated in the industry and community.
Thank you for your dedication to excellence – I greatly appreciate it and our community depends on it.