GateHouse Media slashes newsrooms at new properties

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y., came under GateHouse Media management as part of that company’s ongoing reorganization and expansion. The newspaper was the flagship of the old Dow Jones chain before its sale to the same folks who control the GateHouse properties.

This week the newspaper canned its photo staff. It will rely on freelancers and staff reporters to take photos.

Here is part of the newspaper’s story announcing the layoffs:

The Times Herald-Record announced Friday it has eliminated seven newsroom jobs as part of a larger restructuring of news operations, said Joe Vanderhoof, president and publisher.

“We lost talented and dedicated employees,” Vanderhoof said. “But while it’s tough to lose good people, new technologies and strategies enable us to grow in both digital and print arenas while realigning some expenses to keep pace with economic realities.”

The newspaper eliminated its remaining four staff photographer positions and three newsroom manager jobs. The newsroom will now rely on visuals produced by its substantial freelancer network and other staff journalists.

According to Executive Editor Derek Osenenko, that decision was the result of an ongoing three-year analysis of how the operation could best provide visuals for a growing number of print and digital products.

Vanderhoof said these job reductions are coming at a time when the newsroom is building on successful strategies to extend the reach of the Times Herald-Record across new platforms.

“As we branch out into new areas, we must look for efficiencies to redirect our resources to the priorities that matter most,” said Vanderhoof. He emphasized the newspaper has a strong record of doing just that.

Meanwhile the Cape Cod Media Group let 17 employees go in several departments. This was another part of the GateHouse plan to achieve $10 million in savings at its new properties.

The drastic reductions at these properties underscores why journalists at the Register Star and Journal-Standard must fight to preserve quality reporting, photography and editing in its newsrooms.

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