The Providence Journal laid off workers Tuesday as part of the paper’s acquisition by New Media Investment Group, the holding company for GateHouse Media.
Longtime reporter and columnist Bob Kerr described his layoff to Rhode Island Public Radio:
Kerr says he was called into a meeting by the ProJo’s human resources department before noon, “and of course I knew what that meant. It wasn’t warm and fuzzy. It was pretty cold and abrupt. It was just explaining the severance package and, no explanation as to why, of course. I was just told it was a GateHouse decision. After 43 years-plus, I was out of there in about 10 minutes.’’
It was not immediately clear how many employees were laid off Tuesday. (Update: 22 members of the Providence Newspaper Guild were let go, as well as other non-Guild workers, according to RIPR.) The layoffs were part of the closing of the deal, RIPR reports, and were handled by previous ownership, A.H. Belo Corporation. The ProJo’s Gene Emery said on Twitter that GateHouse will take control of the paper very soon.
Some wonderful people are being shown the door @ProJo. GateHouse apparently to take over Wednesday, survivors being told.— Gene Emery (@GeneEmery) September 2, 2014
New Media’s acquisition of the paper was first reported as a likelihood in June and was announced in July, at a price tag of about $46 million. New Media has amassed a wealth of papers across the country, with several dailies in New England including The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, The Enterprise of Brockton, The Cape Cod Times, and more.
GateHouse (and thus New Media) have a reputation for buyouts and layoffs, though that’s common across the newspaper industry these days. The ProJo’s previous ownership had also made several rounds of layoffs of its own in recent years.
To put today's Projo layoffs in perspective, the paper's staff had already shrunk from 709 employees in mid-2008 to 377 at the end of 2013.— Ted Nesi (@tednesi) September 2, 2014