Arkansas Democrat-Gazette cuts eight jobs as print advertising continues decline | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette cuts eight jobs as print advertising continues decline

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 1:32 PM

click to enlarge THE CLIFF: Chart illustrates the downward trend in print advetising in the U.S.
  • THE CLIFF: Chart illustrates the downward trend in print advetising in the U.S.

click to enlarge ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE: Little Rock headquarters on Capitol Avenue.
  • ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE: Little Rock headquarters on Capitol Avenue.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state's dominant daily newspaper, this week terminated eight employees in Little Rock, a result of continuing declines in newspaper advertising revenue.

Lynn Hamilton, president and general manager, said five jobs were cut in news, two in production and one in circulation. They add to a payroll reduction through attrition of 65 jobs over the last three years.

It is "all in response to a continuing downturn in advertising revenue," said Hamilton. The company, which is privately held, won't release specific figures. But the industry as a whole has suffered calamitous losses as the Internet has taken dollars away from print and as circulation has declined. Hamilton said the Democrat-Gazette, while still taking some circulation losses, had done somewhat better than other newspapers, perhaps because of its devotion of significant amounts of newsprint to broader coverage. He said the newspaper is 28th in the U.S. in circulation though it operates in the 57th biggest market.

The cuts in news, which weren't specifically identified, do include closure of the Pine Bluff bureau, he confirmed. Hamilton said it had been hard to fill that reporting position over the years. He also said that the area hadn't been so "critical" to news coverage that it couldn't be covered in other ways. Others tell us some long-time employees who will lose jobs include a reporter and two designers. One of them, according to her own account, was award-winning business reporter Jessica Seaman Seeman.

He said the cuts grew out of the budget process and a departure from recent efforts to make savings other ways. "We've been trying to do it in as tactful and kind a way as possible,   through attrition rather than termination." All the cuts were in Little Rock, not at the newspaper's Northwest Arkansas affiliate. The newspaper said terminated employees would receive severance pay based on years of service.

Hamilton said he and many others still believed in the future of both print publications and particularly those outlets providing local news. If not the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette or other publications such as the Arkansas Times, he said, who will provide local coverage?

"I still believe there'll be a bottom when advertising levels out," he said.

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