The CEO’s memo:
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 10:15 AM
Subject: Important Announcement
Dear Fellow Employees,
As you know, for the past several months the Board of Directors of Trib Total Media together with the senior leadership team has been engaged in a strategic review of our company in order to best position us for the future and to meet the changing needs of our readers, subscribers, advertisers, partners and employees.
Our founder, Richard Scaife, spent 45 years building this organization and we are proud of his legacy. However, we’ve been forced to take a close look at our bottom line and business operations in the midst of an evolving newspaper industry. In addition to the new financial constraints that the Trib must acknowledge, the industry’s digital landscape has dramatically altered how consumers get their news. We are not immune to those changes./CONTINUES
Last month, we took the first steps to sharpen our focus and geographic footprint, which resulted in the sale of The Leader Times, The Daily Courier, The Mount Pleasant Journal, The Independent-Observer, The Ligonier Echo, The Times-Sun, The Blairsville Dispatch and The Jeannette Spirit. We are still in talks with potential buyers for The Valley Independent and The Daily News. However, if we can’t find suitable buyers for these papers over the next 60 days, we will unfortunately be closing them. We remain hopeful that we can avoid this and will let you know as soon as we have any news to share.
We offered select long-term employees the ability to retire from Trib with enhanced retirement provisions. 68 eligible employees accepted the buyout offer. Unfortunately, the buyouts, sales and closings of the newspapers are not the end of the personnel changes that are required for the Trib to adapt to the changing business environment. We have been forced to further evaluate the future of our business and identify additional ways to improve the overall financial health of the company.
In order for us to continue to effectively operate in an ever-evolving media landscape; we are compelled to make the incredibly tough decision to lay off 153 of the approximately 1,100 full and part-time Trib Total Media employees, across the company. I assure you that we did everything possible to avoid this. Ultimately, we had to come to terms with the Trib’s financial reality. If buyers are not found for The Valley Independent and The Daily News, an additional 91 layoffs will be required. We will all deeply miss our colleagues and thank them for their years of service.
As difficult as this is, there is much to look forward to as we embrace the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. There will be a great deal of positive and exciting change as our company embraces its future.
The next step in sharpening our focus is the consolidation of the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Valley News Dispatch into one paper, the Tribune-Review, with three distinct regional editions. Along with this change, we will align our home delivery footprint of the new Tribune-Review with the portions of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties that contain most of our readers. Starting on January 1, 2016, the home delivery footprint of the Tribune-Review will be reduced in Allegheny County and, to a lesser extent in Westmoreland County. Our great news coverage will continue to be available to all of our readers in a variety of digital formats. However, as a result, we will be closing our printing facility in Greensburg effective Dec. 31, 2015.
We have taken steps over the past several months to build out our digital presence. First, through Mr. Scaife’s estate, our new affiliate, 535 Media, LLC, has acquired 40 percent of the stock of Newsmax Media which is a proven national leader in digital news. We also plan to launch a joint venture with Newsmax, through our affiliate, in early 2016 that will allow us to add to our digital offerings and to expand our national reach.
I am also excited to announce that our digital innovation team, which has worked tirelessly over the past six months, has taken two big steps towards enhancing and expanding our digital presence. First, we will be unveiling a revitalized TribLive.com in January that will include new enhancements like an expanded Healthcare section designed to meet a growing demand in our region and around the world. In the spring of 2016, the team will release a series of mobile-first websites. These digital efforts, which are just the beginning, will better position us to meet the needs of our subscribers, advertisers, partners and employees and deliver the news where, when, and how our readers would like to receive it.
I know all of this will be difficult to process and many of you will have questions and concerns. I urge you to reach out directly to your managers or Doug Bailey in our HR department. You can also refer to the Trib intranet, where there is a list of questions and answers relating to all of the changes I just covered.
Thank you for what you do day-in and day-out to make Trib Total Media a trusted source of news for our readers. I’m proud to work with each of you and look forward to our future.
Jennifer L. Bertetto
President and Chief Executive Officer
Trib Total Media and 535 Media, LLC