Ledger Lays Off Eleven in Newsroom

Eleven news employees, including three photographers and three copy editors, were laid off by the Ledger Media Group this week.

Dozens more were laid off at other newspapers formerly owned first by the New York Times Co. and then Halifax Media Group before becoming part of Gatehouse Media earlier this year.

Media blogger Jim Romenesko reported Tueday that Gatehouse editors were told not to write about the layoffs, though at least one newspaper published a short piece that gave no numbers.

Newsroom employees who found themselves without jobs this week are:

  • Calvin Knight, directory of photography and a 30-year employee.
  • Rick Runion, a long-time photographer.
  • Paul Crate, (Winter Haven) News Chief photographer.
  • Rick Brown, a 24-year sports reporter who covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cody Dulaney, a 2014 USF masters graduate who covered courts.
  • Mike Ferguson, a police reporter since last September and a former sports correspondent.
  • Larry Griffin, who started working as a News Chief reporter in January.
  • Marilyn Meyer, an assistant metro editor who came to The Ledger 2012 after a long career at Florida Today in Melbourne.
  • Nancy Gordon, a copy editor and veteran Tampa and Polk County journalist.
  • Jessica Kaepernik, a copy editor and 2012 Florida Southern College graduate.
  • Tracy Favors, a copy editor since last summer.

In addition, an artist and a digital sales employee were laid off in the Advertising Department.

News staffers were told that replacements will be hired for two departing high-profile editors. Assistant Metro Editor Lyle McBride, who headed the newspaper’s investigative team, announced Monday he is leaving The Ledger to join his family’s business in Texas. Jennifer Audette, who oversaw business and features coverage, left The Ledger for a job at Lakeland Regional Health last month.

At its heights in the early 2000s, The Ledger’s newsroom employed 99 people. The latest layoffs leave the count at about half that number.

At the GateHouse-owned News-Journal in Daytona Beach, four newsroom employees and seven advertising and marketing employees were laid off, according to a report on FlaglerLive.com by Pierre Tristam, a former Ledger reporter and editorial writer.

Poynter Institute’s Rick Edmonds recently analyzed the New Media Investments/GateHouse strategy.  He noted that CEO Jack Reed told analysts that the company can quickly improve operating results of companies it acquires that, like Halifax, don’t have a centralized page design center or a digital marketing arm.