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Company-wide job cuts hit Alabama Media Group for the second time this year

Several employees at Alabama Media Group have been laid off, the Advance-owned regional media company announced Tuesday.

In a memo to staffers announcing the cuts, Alabama Media Group executive Michelle Holmes said between five and nine positions will be eliminated in each of the company’s main sites across the state.

“We know many of you will say goodbye to trusted colleagues and friends,” Holmes wrote. “We wish the best for those who leave our organization today and thank them for their dedication and good work.”

In a release, Alabama Media Group said the cuts will be accompanied by an increased focus on core areas of coverage including breaking news, high school and college sports and Alabama culture. It also notes the company is committed to producing video and hiring staffers who can create “original programming.”

Alabama Media Group, the parent company of several newspapers throughout the state, earlier this year went through a round of layoffs that sapped employees from the Mobile Press-Register and the Birmingham News. Read more


Times-Picayune and Birmingham News to join new regional company

NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group, two media companies owned by Advance Local, will join a new regional company for the Southeast, reported Monday.

The Southeast Regional Media Group, a company slated to launch later this year, will encompass properties from NOLA Media Group — which includes The Times-Picayune and — and from Alabama Media Group, which oversees The Birmingham News, The (Mobile, Alabama) Press-Register and The Huntsville Times, according to

Citing a desire to boost readership and revenue at NOLA Media Group and Alabama Media Group, the report from explains that the reorganization will include a number of high-profile moves from within the two organizations.

Ricky Mathews, the president of NOLA Media Group, will become president of Southeast Regional Media Group. Read more


Advance claims digital ad growth will outpace print declines in 2015

Advance Publications’ much debated five-year-old strategy of discontinuing some days of daily print editions to devote added resources to digital is poised to achieve a critical crossover point in 2015: digital advertising gains will exceed print newspaper ad losses, the company claims.

In a bi-annual letter to employees today, Advance Local President Randy Siegel, writes:

Our local sales and marketing teams have leveraged their entrepreneurial abilities and expansive digital knowledge to prove they can grow digital ad revenue faster than we’re losing print ad revenue.  In 2015, our local leadership teams plan to generate higher total ad revenue in every one of our markets, reversing a longstanding trend of decline.

I asked Siegel by e-mail whether he was including national advertising in that calculation, and he said yes.  Read more


Times-Picayune will close New Orleans print facility, print in Alabama

The Times-Picayune

The Times-Picayune will close its New Orleans print facility and print in Alabama, it announced Tuesday. About 100 production jobs will be lost, but none from the newsroom, the Advance-owned paper says.

Ray Massett, the general manager of Advance Central Services Louisiana, says Advance Central Services Alabama will print the Picayune in Mobile, Alabama. The move “will reduce print-related costs, improve efficiencies and allow for greater use of color in the pages of The Times-Picayune,” the report says.

ACS Alabama handles printing and packaging for The Times-Picayune’s sister paper, The Press-Register. Massett added that printing remotely is commonplace at many newspapers that formerly housed their presses near their newsrooms.

Masset also said the building housing the current print facilities “may be donated to a nonprofit institution in the community.” Read more

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AP journalist and translator killed in Gaza

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Simone Camilli in Beit Lahiya on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. AP journalist and translator killed, photographer injured in Gaza: Simone Camilli and translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash “died Wednesday when Gaza police engineers were neutralizing unexploded ordnance in the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya left over from fighting between Israel and Islamic militants.” AP photographer Hatem Moussa was seriously injured in the explosion. (AP) | Moussa got AP’s “Beat of the Week” nod last month. (APME)
  2. Is there a second Snowden? James Bamford writes that he got “unrestricted access to [Edward Snowden's] cache of documents in various locations. And going through this archive using a sophisticated digital search tool, I could not find some of the documents that have made their way into public view, leading me to conclude that there must be a second leaker somewhere.” (Wired) | Related: What it’s like to do a photoshoot with Snowden.
Read more

Jennifer Conlin writes about independent student publication The Michigan Daily, which beat local daily The Ann Arbor News on a major story. Since the News underwent several repositionings in the local market, the Daily has been “the only Monday-through-Friday print publication in town”:

The constant changes have muddled The Ann Arbor News’s identity and, according to some residents, eroded its standing as the go-to source of news in the community. That sense was reinforced by the football article, on which The Ann Arbor News played catch-up after student reporters broke the story.

“I feel The Michigan Daily fills an important niche in Ann Arbor and a need that is unmet by our regional newspapers in an era of constrained resources,” said the student paper’s editor in chief, Peter Shahin, sitting with the two reporters who broke the football scandal story, Adam Rubenfire and Matt Slovin, in the Daily’s conference room. …

“We have 200 to 250 staff, and though we are a trade publication first covering the university, we are also trying to fill a void in other areas here, like the arts,” Mr. Shahin said. “I think we truly have the pulse of the town.”

Jennifer Conlin, The New York Times

A reserved sign and flowers are seen on a table at Holsten's ice cream parlor Thursday, June 20, 2013, in Bloomfield, N.J., with a newspaper announcing the death of actor James Gandolfini. Gandolfini was mourned in the northern New Jersey towns where his TV character Tony Soprano lived, loved and whacked people. The star died Wednesday night in Italy of an apparent heart attack. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

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

The Star-Ledger | The New York Times | The Daily Beast |

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, 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. Read more

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James Gandolfini Reaction New Jersey_AP

Star-Ledger lays off 167

The Star-Ledger

The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger will cut about 25 percent of its newsroom today, Ted Sherman and Mark Mueller report. Of the 167 cuts total at the paper, about 40 will come from the newsroom. is also being hit.

The Advance-owned paper last week announced the creation of a new company called NJ Advance Media. Following the script set at other Advance properties, the new company will publish the Star-Ledger, and other newspapers.

The cuts aren’t necessarily immediate, Sherman and Mueller report:

In packets that were being handed out this morning, those being told their jobs were being eliminated were offered severance packages if they agreed to stay with the newspaper until NJ Advance Media, new media company being formed, is up and running.

Read more

Oregonian goes to smaller print format

The Oregonian

The Oregonian will go from a “broadsheet size to a compact format,” the paper announced Tuesday. The new paper will be “about 15 inches tall by 11 inches wide.” The paper expects to complete its transition to the new format by April 2.

The type size will not change. Local, national and international news will be combined into the main news section. Sports will remain as a stand-alone section, as will Business on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Wednesday, Foodday + Living and health news will be combined into a single features section. On Sundays, the features sections also combine into a single A&E, Living and Travel section.

Read more

Study says quality of content is down at


A Tulane University study says the quality of content has declined at since the Times-Picayune decreased print frequency, Dean Starkman writes. The study, on which Starkman consulted, looked at “hard” and “soft” news (including opinion pieces) in the printed paper and online.

While “the 2013 version of the printed Times-Picayune is not terribly different from its predecessor in terms of the type of stories covered,” Starkman writes, the stuff on its digital products “was more likely to be about lighter subjects such as sports and entertainment, as opposed to politics, education, courts and other traditional core newspaper beats.”

Nola Media Group Editor and Vice-President for Content Jim Amoss told Starkman the study’s methodology “doesn’t begin to provide a statistically valid measure of ‘soft’ versus ‘hard’ news” online. Read more

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