February 26, 2015

The Scripps Washington Bureau will lay off four journalists in preparation for the upcoming newspaper spinoff of The E. W. Scripps Company, the company confirmed Thursday.

The journalists, who focus on long-form text, will leave after March 31, said Ellen Weiss, Washington bureau chief for Scripps. The cuts come as Scripps gets ready to divest its print assets to become a digital and broadcast news company. Scripps’ print assets will be combined with those of Journal Communications and split into a new company called Journal Media Group.

Among the journalists losing their jobs are investigative reporter Sydney Freedberg, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and Marcia Myers, a two-time Polk award-winner who was hired as senior investigations editor. The other two journalists are investigative correspondent Thomas Hargrove and national reporter Isaac Wolf.

After the merger with Journal Communications, E.W. Scripps will need to produce more digital and video content, which necessitates a change, Weiss said in an email to Poynter.

“Like all of media, Scripps is charting a new course for its future,” she wrote. “That means parting with the legacy platforms and embracing new models and platforms. And it means staffing changes to address those changes. The positions that we eliminated reflect a parting with the legacy platform and we will be growing with positions that support our work on new platforms.”

After March 31, two reporters who currently work for Scripps will begin working for Journal Media Group, but they will lease space in the Washington bureau, Weiss writes. The bureau, which currently houses 32 editorial and non-editorial employees, will decrease to 28 after March 31 with the possibility of an increase as the new company charts a course of action.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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