Progress publisher mum on layoffs

How will the May 22 announcement by Richmond-based media conglomerate Media General Inc. that it will lay off 11 percent of its workforce– a total of 750 employees– affect Charlottesville's longest-running news outlet?

"We are reviewing all of our newspaper operations in an effort to be more efficient," says Progress publisher Lawrence McConnell in Friday's edition. "In some cases, the positions have not been filled and will not be filled, and are part of company reductions reported today."

McConnell declined to elaborate on how many

Progress employee are affected by the cuts.

Media General, a publicly held company that owns news outlets throughout the southeast– including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Waynesboro News Virginian– hopes to save $40 million ($53,333 per lay-off) annually with the cutbacks, which are planned by occur by October.

While word of the trimmings may not have played well in newsrooms from Tampa to Alexandria, they did play well a little further north: on Wall Street. On announcement day, word of pink slips and hiring freezes sent Media General stock (symbol: MEG) climbing by almost 10 percent to close at $16.40 per share.

It could be that Progress reporters have seen the writing on the wall. In the last year, the paper has lost some of its most prominent bylines with veteran political reporter Bob Gibson leaving the 166-year-old paper in March to direct UVA's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. Last year, veteran courts and crimes scribe Liesel Nowak departed in August to become communications specialist for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. More recently, newsroomers Rob Seal and John Yellig have also departed.

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8 comments

John Yellig was the illest!

Bosoms!

When it comes to the DP, a slip in "quality" is a relative term indeed. Will anyone really notice (or care) if the DP fades away?

You mean they're still publishing the DP? That it itself seems like news!

Oh, hope they don't cut the one and only DP edition I buy on a regular basis, the Sunday edition. --Comics and add inserts are useful, sports section too except they wite too much about UVA for some odd reason.

They are a bit better with newsprint than websites, I stick with the Hook and the Washington Post, both let me talk back.

Can anybody tell me why my Sunday paper has 4 of every ad in it? It would probably help them cut costs if they put only 1 copy of the Target flyer in there instead of 4! Have to agree, the DP's website is one of the ugliest I've seen.

Suction cup type machinery picks up each advertising insert and slides them into each paper. Sometimes when this machinery picks up a Target ad for example, 3 or 4 other Target ads are all stuck together. This is why you often get more than one.

I work with the company you're talking about. This is exactly the same scenario every Media comp. is dealing with, as people stop reading the newspaper entirely. Do you know anyone under 30 who actually subscribes? Or watches the evening news for that matter...it's the age of Youtube. That's why the jobs are shifting the internet. Whether that saves old-line media I can't say, but we're trying to address the huge shift in the market.