There’s been no news of mass layoffs at the Las Vegas Review-Journal lately, though that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few long-time, well compensated employees who have been individually shown the door or told it is time to retire.
But it appears the bleeding from the newspaper’s owner, Stephens Media, is not yet over.
Over the weekend came news that Stephens Media laid off five of its six staffers at its Arkansas News Bureau in North Little Rock, leaving only one full-time reporter. The bureau covers Arkansas state government, including the Legislature.
The news was confirmed for Arkansas Business by ousted bureau chief Dennis Byrd. Stephens Media owns several papers in Arkansas, including one in Fort Smith, most famous for its 19th century resident “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker.
Arkansas Business reported that Mark Hinueber, the general counsel for the Stephens Media who has presided over more “career hangings” than Judge Parker ever did, said a bureau employee will continue covering sports in northwest Arkansas. It was not stated whether that would be as an employee or as a benefit-free freelancer.
The Las Vegas newspaper beefed up its Carson City bureau from one to two prior to the 2013 legislative session, bringing back laid off bureau staffer Sean Whaley, but that was in anticipation of long-time bureau chief Ed Vogel retiring at some point. That point is this week.
I also hear that the staffers at the Stephens Media owned Pahrump Valley Times are quaking in their boots.
Stephens Media named a new CEO in December, Ed “Boss” Moss, who has a reputation for slashing staffing at newspapers across the West.
In 2009, when Moss left the Los Angeles Daily News to become publisher at the San Diego Union-Tribune, Ron Kaye, the former editor of the Daily News, penned a scathing blog about Moss, saying among other less than flattering things:
“Sending Moss to fix a struggling paper is like sending a mortician to treat an ailing patient. He will do the only thing he knows how to do: Cut, and cut, and cut some more: When he’s done with his handiwork, the U-T will be ready for embalming and burial …”