(Updates at the end of this post.)
It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we’re seeing at other newspapers throughout the country. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt any less.
ArkansasBusiness.com media writer Mark Hengel confirms that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has let go 7 newsroom workers — 5 in Little Rock and 2 in Northwest Arkansas:
“I deeply regret that we have cut seven newsroom positions,” Fellone said.
The paper, owned by Wehco Media Inc. of Little Rock, has attempted to avoid making staff cuts. A hiring and wage freeze was implemented at the paper in August 2008 and management requested that employees reduce hours to conserve money.
“I would have to say that it is clear that the economic conditions are tough for us as they are for all businesses,” Fellone said.
No one’s naming names, but sources told ArkansasBusiness.com that former Democrat-Gazette business reporter Jake Bleed, who’d moved to Paul Greenberg’s editorial page, was among those let go.
We wish all them the best.
UPDATED: From Tuesday”s Democrat-Gazette: “The floundering economy has forced the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to reduce its work force in various departments by approximately 3 percent to 5 percent during the past two months …” That’s 50-60 positions statewide, including the 7 newsroom posts. The DG employs about 1,300 people.
In Laura Stevens’ story, General Manager Paul Smith said positions were eliminated in every area of the company’s operations as advertising revenue continued to drop. And here’s a staggering nugget: Smith says the sale of Alltel Corp. and the bankruptcy of Circuit City and Goody’s will cost the newspaper about $1.2 million in 2009.
Griffin Smith, executive editor of the Democrat-Gazette, said that it was tough to let some employees go on Monday.
“We waited as far as we could, hoping that the economy would turn around, and we still hope it will,” Smith said. “We have confidence in the future for the newspaper and for the economy, but eventually we had to say that some jobs have to be eliminated. We did our best to keep the number down.”
Via the Think Tank: DG Columnist Jay Grelen in Editor & Publisher, two weeks ago, says “healthy” Democrat-Gazette proves publisher Walter Hussman is right about charging for content
Filed under: Arkansas Business, business, Media, Newspapers | Tagged: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, business, Frank Fellone, Griffin Smith, Jake Bleed, Jay Grelen, Media, Newspapers, Paul Smith, publishing, Walter Hussman, Wehco Media |