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Huge layoffs at News-Gazette

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

* WCIA TV

Some of you may have been surprised when you didn’t find your Monday paper this morning. You aren’t alone. News-Gazette announced yesterday they will no longer be delivering on Mondays, but that’s not the only change.

We now know there were around 34 people laid off from the Champaign location. Sources say that breaks down as 19 in editorial, 12 in circulation, one in finance, one in digital services, and one weekly editor. In an article Sunday, the Executive Vice President of Champaign Multi Media Group Paul Barrett said taking away the Monday paper was to reduce cost and get the paper back on its footing.

Champaign Multi Media group bought the paper at the end of August. As part of that process, the paper also filed for bankruptcy. […]

A carrier from the News-Gazette location in Danville who was let go said everyone else at that location was too. That’s 15 people.

From what I’ve been told, they’ve closed the Danville bureau. Also, they’re down to just a tiny number of reporters overall.

* Happy talk from the media group’s president

A new day is dawning in the newspaper industry, and the new owners of News-Gazette Media — Champaign Multi Media Group — will bring fresh ideas, improved technology and a sharp focus to a great media market.

“Champaign-Urbana is the most exciting market in the state of Illinois. With a thriving business community, first-class university and an undercurrent of entrepreneurial success, Champaign-Urbana will benefit from strong, innovative media leadership,” said Paul Barrett, executive vice president and publisher of Champaign Multi Media Group. “We will leverage the largest commercial website in the state outside of Chicago for our advertisers, bringing our formula for success in other markets to this region.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - efudd - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 8:57 am:

    “This market is so exciting we told 34 people to kick rocks.”


  2. - Stuff Happens - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 9:09 am:

    Some people down here wonder if they bought the paper for its radio station and are going to let the paper die.

    Others have heard that they will rehire people, but with a selective non-union contract. They wonder if this was just a way to dump union members.

    Delivery people were given no notice that they were being laid off.

    The paper also raised its rates for digital access.


  3. - Not a Billionaire - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 9:22 am:

    Some Gannet Gatehouse are going to weekly start of the year.


  4. - Streator Curmdgeon - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 10:13 am:

    Ottawa/Streator Times cut out its Friday edition a couple years ago. It’s a thin shadow of what the paper used to be.

    The statement from Paul Barrett is the kind of doublespeak that self-serving politicians blather when they do something stupid. Bizarre seeing it come from a newspaper person.

    As someone who loves newspapers, I find all this very, very sad.


  5. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 10:24 am:

    Let’s be honest C-U is hardly most exciting market in state. Even campus life mostly sucks, but one would think there are enough high end earners to keep a paper in business. We assume that CNG has failed at delivery biz years ago — a common thread to the demise — but more can be done. maybe a chance to Daily Illini.


  6. - Back to the Future - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    Sorry to see this news. Local newspapers have always been
    an important part of the idea of “community”.


  7. - Annoin' - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 11:03 am:

    BTW who got tossed?


  8. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    Anyone know who got the ax?


  9. - Tough Times - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    Sad, but really all of this will have to be assessed in the long run and in relation to other downstate communities of similar size.

    Is the New-Gazette going to cover local government and issues like the recent News-Gazette covered them or even better like they were covered two decades ago?

    I’d be curious to hear from folks in other places like Peoria and Bloomington their impressions of local news coverage before and after their buyouts.

    Hopefully some day some one some where will arrive at a business model for local papers that is feasible while also delivering content that local communities need.


  10. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    Tough Times
    Here in Springfield Gatehouse has “hollowed out” the SJR. Think there are only 5 news (non-sports) reporters. In a county of not quite 200,000 people.


  11. - 61822 - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    The News-Gazette stands out from even big market papers in terms of the quantity and quality of original reporting it contains. We were worried when the cut the Monday paper, but if they cut editorial then the end is near.


  12. - JIbba - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:04 pm:

    ==will bring fresh ideas, improved technology and a sharp focus to a great media market.===

    Overdue by 20 years. It is hard to succeed in a university market when you have hard right wing views and are generally anti-campus. There are only so many Chamber of Commerce members to take subscriptions.


  13. - LTSW - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    I’ve noticed an influx of News-Gazette stories on my Facebook feed in the last few weeks. Maybe they have decided to adopt the click-bait ad billing fraud scheme others papers are using.


  14. - RDB - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:49 pm:

    ==Anyone know who got the axe?==

    Tracy Crane, Lyndsey Jones (now at WCIA), Noelle McGee, Tim Mitchell, Frank Pieper, Aldo Toledo (left last week for larger market), Jordan Wilson, Paul Wood


  15. - MyTwoCents - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 5:41 pm:

    Compared to the other newspapers in the area the News-Gazette for years had much more extensive coverage, particularly in the outlying areas and with high school sports. I’m wondering what will happen with all the small community papers the News Gazette owns. Hopefully newspapers will eventually figure out that worse coverage does not sell more papers, but that won’t happen until the ownership goes local again.


  16. - Fred Bruner - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 8:25 pm:

    Nice job news gazette. Cut jobs. Notify employees on Saturday you have no job. Tell subscribers on Sunday no more Sunday paper and No papers on Monday And if your lucky paper will be delivered daily by U S Mail. You hit that right. No paper on Tuesday account Clinton customers paper never arrived. So I guess my morning paper might arrive sometime in afternoon. I guess thats a nice way to upset people And dont try calling to complain cause no one to answer phone. So Merry Christmas, account my subscription runs out soon and I will not renew. Good Luck to the former employees Fred Bruner

    .


  17. - Southfarmllama - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 8:02 am:

    Having grown up in Champaign and gone to Illinois for college, I’m not surprised in the least. The NG was a right wing platform for a long time. Management was too slow to adapt to current tech trends, so all of this is not surprising. I feel bad for the people that lost their jobs, but in their hearts, they must have known this was coming.


  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 14, 19 @ 8:17 am:

    Day Two of no delivery and no way to contact the ciculation department. Don’t answer the phone, don’t respond to emails.


  19. - Jackie Bautista - Thursday, Nov 14, 19 @ 10:30 pm:

    1 paper in almost 40 days?? days. Told that I would receive credit to my account by a customer service representative name Tara Reece but never happened. No retuned recent calls or emails. Not even from the Circulation Dept either. This is how the NG treats loyal long term customers.


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