News & Record lays off nine employees

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Jeff Gauger,  publisher and editor of the News & Record, confirmed today that the daily paper eliminated nine full-time positions.

The positions, which were in the news, advertising and administration, were cut on June 3 “due to continuing softness in national advertising,” Gauger said, adding that the nine employees “were released with severance.” He did not provide further details about which positions were cut or which employees were laid off.

UPDATE: Two News & Record employees, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed the names of six of the impacted employees. Online Editor Kenwyn Caranna, Local Content Editor Teresa Prout, Photo Editor Rob Brown, courts reporter Robert Lopez, photographer Scott Hoffman and graphic artist Margaret Baxter were among those let go.

Database reporter Margaret Moffett Banks responded to the layoffs in a public Facebook post tonight:

“Today, the newspaper let go 9 hardworking employees, including 6 in the newsroom,” she wrote. “To a person, they were hardworking, creative and the other things you want in employees. The list included my boss and mentor for the last 20 years, for whom I have this message: Thank you for staying late to edit me Tuesday night, your last night at the paper, though you didn’t know it at the time. You stayed, even though it made you late for dinner. You made the story better, you made the paper better, and you made me better.”

The News & Record is owned by BH Media Inc. It is the third-largest newspaper in the state, according to its website.

Former News & Record employee Lex Alexander responded to the cuts tonight on his blog, lamenting that the layoffs included “some true stalwarts, one of whom was just months from retiring.”

“At this point, I think it’s fair to conclude that BH Media is no longer even trying to cut its way to profitability,” he wrote. “It is now simply milking what it can for as long as it can, at which point it will shut down the papers one by one and sell off the real estate, some of it quite valuable, that those papers sit on. And it’s past time we in Greensboro start thinking about who or what will be able to provide the journalistic firepower to truly hold the powerful accountable in this community.”

Alexander declined to name the employee near retirement, adding that he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the layoffs.

Former News & Record editor John Robinson shared today on Facebook that his thoughts are with the paper’s employees, later adding, “Newspapering is a cool way to make a living, but there is a wonderful world out there away from newspapers, I promise.”

A handful of former and current employees of the paper, including former managing editor Ann Morris, chimed in on his thread.

“Several of those laid off had dedicated their working lives to the paper,” Morris wrote earlier today. “They are dedicated, hard-working journalists who did nothing wrong but simply worked loyally for enough years to build up decent salaries. So they were the targets. My thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Check back — we will update this post with more information as it becomes available.

 

[Disclaimer: Triad City Beat prints its newspapers at the News & Record’s downtown Greensboro facility.]

 

  • Tim Batten

    Oh well, comments have been disabled.

    • Not on our site — they are just approved first to scan for spam, etc.

  • Heartbreaking.

  • Benji Cartwright

    “softness in national advertising” if this were true Winston Salem would be experiencing the same softness and would need to lay off some folks. More likely is the continued under performance of the local sales staff. Perhaps JG should find out what his Ad Director is doing rather than simply be a puppet for DM & KK. These layoffs might balance the budget thru the end of the year but more layoffs will be needed to achieve 2016 budget. If any journalist gets an interview with JG ask him to name his 10 most successful projects he has created and implemented to grow revenue or circulation.

    • Just as an update: Jeff Gauger has formally declined to comment further to TCB. Also it is very possible that cuts like this ARE coming at the Winston-Salem Journal.

  • Nibor Luas

    Next step in expense reduction is move printing to WS and layoff everyone in production. Don’t say it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet!