Advance laid off more than 300 people in N.J.

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Some 306 people lost jobs at Advance’s New Jersey properties Thursday, Mark Mueller and Ted Sherman report in The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. At the Star-Ledger, 167 staffers, 40 of them from the newsroom, were laid off as Advance tries to reposition its newsgathering operations for digital readership.

“Another 124 full- and part-time jobs were eliminated at the company’s weekly newspapers and at the dailies in Trenton, Easton, and South Jersey,” Mueller and Sherman write. “At NJ.com, 15 of 77 employees were let go.”

Matt Kraner, the president of NJ Advance Media, the new company that will provide content and other services to the papers, told The New York Times the group “will be adding 27 editorial positions to increase the numbers of reporters and photographers on the street.” The cuts will nevertheless present “a net reduction in editorial staff,” Ravi Somaiya reports.

When asked whether the moves diminished The Star-Ledger, its publisher, Richard Vezza, said in a phone interview: “I don’t look at it that way. I look at it as a transition to an organization for the future.”

NJ Advance Media will be based in Woodbridge, N.J., Mueller and Sherman report. The Star-Ledger will “remain a presence in Newark, though a vastly diminished one”:

The newspaper has been seeking to sell its building on Court Street. Vezza, the publisher, said he expects the remaining employees in Newark will be moved to a new location in the city later this year or early next year.

Olivia Nuzzi went to The Star-Ledger yesterday and talked to reporters there. “Are you here to pick our carcasses?” one person there asked her. Another advised: “Get out of this fucking business while you can.”

In the elevator, employees quietly chattered about the gutting of their paper. Forcing those fired to stay on until September in order to get their severance, they said, seemed particularly cruel. “It’s an awkward day,” one employee said. “It’s going to be an awkward summer.”

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie “got maybe the best news of his life,” Will Bunch writes. There “is, and will be, a direct correlation between the number of local journalists working in New Jersey and the number of corrupt misdeeds that are exposed in the political swamp known far and wide as “the Soprano State.”

To give you some idea…it was journalists from the Star-Ledger/NJ.com who informed the public how much of their tax dollars was going for Christie’s self-promotional town halls, who revealed when Christie (as U.S. attorney) steered a lucrative $52 million gig to the law [firm] of his former boss John Ashcroft, who broke the stories that Christie had made a personal loan of $46,000 to his top aide Michele Brown and that he hadn’t been ticketed for striking a motorcyclist (after telling the cop who he was), who wrote about the governor’s petty retribution against a GOP lawmaker who dared to criticize him, and first reported that Sandy relief money built a senior citizens complex in a city where the Democratic mayor endorsed Christie (but which didn’t suffer much storm damage).

Star-Ledger reporter David Giambusso tweeted this last night:

 

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  • markisenberg

    This comes as no shock to long time Star Ledger subscribers who have seen its quality gutted over the last five years and while getting good NJ news will be available elsewhere beyond radio station 101.5 FM,it is another sad moment for a better era of Jersey Journalism that has disappeared at what once was the Newspaper for NJ.