Digital First Media gives layoff notices to at least 24 journalists

The Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia says layoff notices were given to 24 employees of the Digital First Media-owned Delaware County Daily Times, Norristown Times Herald, the Pottstown Mercury, and the Trentonian. (Are there other DFM papers affected? dfm

Bill Ross, executive director of the Philly Guild, tells me Digital First Media had a no-layoffs clause for the initial year of the journalists’ contracts, “and has now decided to eliminate positions as revenue continues to decline.”

He adds: “We believed our contracts gave the employer the tools to become profitable, after the first year. For my members who remain, it’s disheartening, because we are already cut to the bone, and can’t go any deeper.”

I’m told the layoffs are effective April 11.

I’ve invited Digital First Media spokesman Jonathan Cooper to comment.

Meanwhile, at GateHouse — A tipster emails: “[Our newspaper] just held newsroom meeting. Copy desks are moving to GateHouse design center in Austin TX in October. Publisher said meetings like this are going on all around GateHouse ‘right now.’ Some editors will be able to reapply for positions here as “multimedia editors” and others are encouraged to apply to Austin.”

Employees were told that the chain’s Local Media Group’s copy editing and page design functions will move into GateHouse Media’s Center for News & Design in Austin, starting in August. The move will be complete by November.