More Staff Reductions at Projo and Big Price Increase: UPDATED
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
GoLocalProv Business Team
GateHouse’s Region Vice President Peter Meyer said in a message to employees at more than 100 of the company's newspapers in New England — that the paper is looking at more buyouts. This comes along with a double-digit price increase this past week. De facto, less reporting and a more expensive newspaper. The Providence Journal and the Newport Daily News employees are being offered buyouts, according to Executive Editor Alan Rosenberg. GateHouse recently closed another Rhode Island newspaper - the Newport Mercury - which had dated back to 1758.
The Providence Journal continues to suffer through massive staffing cutbacks, a collapse of circulation and falling print ad revenues — so GateHouse Media — the parent company to the Providence Journal — is pumping up the price as well as trimming the staff.
“Strategic expense reduction, along with revenue growth, is our path to sustainable quality, local journalism,” writes Meyer.
“While revenue trends are improving, our company is not yet in revenue growth mode and we must continue to manage expense. Today, we are announcing a voluntary separation program for eligible colleagues in our group (GateHouse New England)…”
The Sunday edition of the paper has increased from $3.50 a copy to $4.00 per copy — more than 14 percent increase. The newsstand cost of the weekday paper is now $2.50.
Increased Price, Decreased Content
More than half the newspaper’s content is comprised of stories written by per story freelancers and wire stories from the Associated Press and other sources.
The paper’s newsroom which once exceeded more than 300 reporters and editors during the paper’s glory days in the 1980s and 1990s has shrunk to approximately 15 news reporters. Between layoffs, buyouts and reporters leaving the company, the paper is a tiny shadow of itself.
Recently, the Providence Journal has suffered a number of public embarrassments:
In an email response to questions about the price increase, the newspaper’s publisher Publisher Janet Hasson replied in an email, "We continue to review our pricing and adjust accordingly as the cost of newsprint has escalated by 30% since January with no hint of subsiding. The Journal remains committed to providing important local coverage that readers value."
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article inferred that the Providence Journal and the Newport Daily News feel under the control of Meyer. The two Rhode Island papers do not. But, it has been confirmed that the RI papers' employees will be offered buyout packages. The story was first published 7/10/18 3:59 PM