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Star-Ledger owner guts their Cleveland newspaper

Expected layoffs today: 18 of 32 reporters

By David Wildstein, April 03 2020 12:28 am

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is expected to lay off 18 of their 32 reporters today, a gutting of a newspaper owned by Advance Publications, the owner of the Star-Ledger and four other New Jersey daily newspapers.

Word of the massive reductions of the newsroom staff came in a tweet Thursday from reporter John Petkovic, who called the layoffs “beyond sad.”

The news was also confirmed by the 178-year-old newspaper’s union.

As Plain Dealer News Guild heads into this week, when we will say goodbye to more than half of our Plain Dealer colleagues, we want to acknowledge their work during these tough times and call attention to the importance of local journalism,” the union said in a social media post.

Advance had cut 22 newsroom jobs last month.

The newspaper has been in a steady decline in recent years, reducing their editorial staff from 168 in 2013 to what appears to be just 14 reporters.

These cuts don’t mean that the Advance parent company is struggling, just changing direction.

Last week, the announced a plan to acquire The Ironman Group in a $730 million, all-cash deal to purchase the Beijing-based triathlon entertainment company.

The week before, Advance revealed a $200 million investment in a “fast-growing mobile games space” company, Scopely.

The news from Cleveland does not necessarily mean the Star-Ledger will reduce their staff.

In addition to the Star-Ledger, Advance owns the Jersey Journal, the Trenton Times, the South Jersey Times, and the Express-Times, which covers Warren County.

The South Jersey Times used to be three separate newspapers — the Gloucester County Times, the Bridgeton Evening News and the Salem Today’s Sunbeam — until Advance reduced their reporting staff and merged them less than a decade ago.

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