Very sad local media news breaking today. I haven’t seen it posted on their web site yet, but The Ledger laid off a large number of workers in advertising, the newsroom and elsewhere, according to several sources I’ve talked to. I’m sure the official news will go up soon if it hasn’t already.
The overall number I’ve heard is 36, which is an awfully big chunk of people with families and bills and aspirations.
Update: 10:05 p.m.: The Ledger just posted its story, confirming the 36 number. Full story here.
I’ve heard a number of newsroom names, most of whom I know personally, but I won’t post any here without official confirmation. My understanding is that the newsroom cuts focused heavily on the copyediting and design staff, not reporters and content editors. If what I’ve heard is correct, it virtually guts the mechanisms that get the paper out each day. At the same time, the advertising cuts hit salespeople hard, meaning there are fewer available to chase the advertising the paper needs to raise money.
All that suggests to me The Ledger is preparing to kill its print product altogether. Or at least that it’s resigned to it dying.
The specific timing of the layoffs were apparently unexpected, but I don’t think anyone paying attention would call them a surprise. I’ve been working on a piece about the sad spiral of the industry, and I’ll try to get it up soon.
In the meantime, say a prayer for these folks, who are talented and dedicated and undeserving of this fate.