Last fall, the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail celebrated doubling digital subscriptions. Today, it eliminated the position of the editor who helped make that happen.
“Unexpectedly, today was my last day at the @wvgazettemail, after 24-plus years,” Greg Moore tweeted on Thursday. “I’m incredibly sad to be leaving, especially when people there have been doing such incredible things over the past couple of years.”
Unexpectedly, today was my last day at the @wvgazettemail, after 24-plus years. I’m incredibly sad to be leaving, especially when people there have been doing such incredible things over the past couple of years.
— Greg Moore (@gregmoorewv) February 20, 2020
The Gazette-Mail’s motto has long been “sustained outrage,” but that outrage might be focused internally, too, these days — This is the second editor to lose his job in less than two years.
After leading the paper to a Pulitzer Prize in 2017, then going into bankruptcy and getting new owners, then-editor Rob Byers was among those laid off in 2018. Byers tweeted condolences to Moore and the community.
Terrible news, not only for my friend Greg, but also for WV. The loss of his rock-solid news judgment and institutional knowledge will be apparent and will be missed in a state that desperately needs and deserves watchdog journalism.
— Rob Byers (@RobertJByers) February 20, 2020
In September, Moore wrote a column sharing that the Gazette-Mail had doubled digital subscriptions in nine months.
On Thursday, current and former Gazette-Mail staffers shared their feelings on Twitter about the news:
This was a short-sighted decision.@gregmoorewv has led this paper through a difficult transition, and was guiding us toward a strong future.
He rose from copy editor and reporter to co-editing a Pulitzer Prize winning investigation.
This is a sad day for the state newspaper. https://t.co/wXwaTRSDXL
— Kenwardjr (@Kenwardjr) February 20, 2020
Greg was my first editor and trusted me to do big stories even as a rookie, and is a huge reason why I feel confident to do them today. I have cried to him about stories and argued with him about stories because he’s an editor’s editor. The paper is not the paper without him. https://t.co/631FK8aOM4
— Mackenzie Mays (@MackenzieMays) February 20, 2020
Working at the paper has been really tough the last several years. But you always knew Greg had your back, you could bring up any concerns to him. Our loyalty was with Greg. This is absolutely heartbreaking and a devastating loss for our newsroom. https://t.co/vAOPSBl6zW
— Leann Ray (@Leann_Ray) February 20, 2020
@gregmoorewv, you have always been the best person in a newsroom to turn to in times of crisis and chaos and uncertainty. Your steady and thoughtful guidance has impacted so many journalists. This makes me really sad for West Virginia.
— Anna Patrick (@annaleapatrick) February 20, 2020
In an email Poynter obtained from Moore to staff, Moore notes that the paper’s owner, HD Media, was eliminating the executive editor position.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that HD Media laid me off this morning, effective immediately. I’m told they’re eliminating the Gazette-Mail executive editor position.
I’m extremely proud of the work the Gazette-Mail has done over the past few years, under incredibly trying circumstances. I hope the people newly in charge of the newsroom have the sense to continue letting this newsroom evolve, and letting everyone in the newsroom have a voice, and relying on the vast knowledge and experience that has been accumulated here.
Over the past 24-plus years, it’s been an honor and a privilege to work with each and every one of you.
Reached by phone, new regional executive editor Lee Wolverton had no comment. Poynter has reached out to other executives with HD Media, the Gazette-Mail’s owner, for comment. We’ll update if we hear back.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.