Providence Journal Lays Off 11, Including 8 in Newsroom

Oct 23, 2013

The Providence Journal is reporting that 11 employees have been laid off, including eight full-time employees in the newsroom, in the newspaper's latest round of cost-cutting.

The layoffs were expected after a recent buyout attracted less interest than the target set by management.

Reporter John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, declined comment Wednesday afternoon because, he says, not all the impacted employees had been told.

RIPR separately learned that the laid off employees include reporters Maria Armental and Lisa Vernon Sparks; graphic artist Tom Murphy; photo editor and page designer Ray Capobianco; and longtime assistant in the sports department Bobby McGarry, considered the heart and soul of the department. The laid off staffers will remain on the newspaper's payroll through November 1. (Update, November 4: photographer Glenn Osmundson wasn't originally among the employees to lose their jobs, but his layoff was rescinded after transportation reporter Bruce Landis decided to take the buyout.)

Nine of the 11 layoffs are Providence Newspaper Guild members. According to a copy of the Guild Leader, the layoffs bring to 27 the number of jobs eliminated with the inclusion of the recent buyout.

The Leader goes on to say that buyout requests from remaining Guild members will be accepted through October 31, and if accepted such a buyout would rescind a layoff.

When it reported the layoffs, the ProJo said: "The layoffs come after 16 employees voluntarily left the company this month, taking buy-out offers. The buy outs included 12 members of the Providence Newspaper Guild, the union that represents reporters, editors, advertising sales representatives and other employees at the 184-year-old newspaper. Four of those who left voluntarily were newsroom employees, including three reporters."

The reporters taking the buyout, including 40-year court and investigative reporter Tracy Breton, represented close to 150 years in institutional knowledge.

The Journal has had an increasingly frequent series of buyouts and layoffs as the newspaper has been challenged by shrinking circulation and ad revenue.

This post has been updated.