April 6, 2020

Newspapers in the chain formerly known as Digital First Media joined others around the country hit hard by the economic impact of the coronavirus late last week. At a time when their work is needed most, MediaNews Group staff learned of layoffs and furloughs, according to Julie Reynolds in a piece for News Matters, a News Guild project for DFM workers.

“MNG, formerly known as Digital First Media, is controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which has been gutting its papers for eight years. The chain made no public announcement of the cuts, which appear to affect nearly every newspaper in the chain.”

Here are some of the newsrooms that learned of cuts and furloughs, according to News Matters:

  • The Denver Post laid off 13, including four from the newsroom, according to a tweet from Corey Hutchins, a journalism instructor who writes about Colorado media for CJR.
  • The Boston Herald laid off at least half a dozen, according to a piece by Nik DeCosta-Klipa in Boston.com.
  • The Kingston (New York) Daily Freeman laid off four news guild members, according to DFM Workers.

“Unconfirmed reports have come in from staff at MNG’s Southern California News Group, where the company owns a string of papers that include the Orange County Register and the LA Daily News. Sources there say around six newsroom [employees] were laid off across the group, and that all sports and features staff were furloughed for at least two weeks.”

In Institutional Investor, a business-to-business publisher focused on finance, Leanna Orr reports “The Orange County Register, Riverside’s Press-Enterprise, Pasadena Star-News, and Long Beach Press-Telegram belong to the 11-paper umbrella group — called the Southern California News Group (SCNG) — that laid off numerous staffers from both the editorial and advertising sides, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.”

Kristen Hare covers the transformation of local news for Poynter.org and writes a weekly newsletter on the transformation of local news. Want to be part of the conversation? You can subscribe here. Kristen can be reached at khare@poynter.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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