The company that owns The Star-Ledger and NJ.com have sold one of the crown jewels of their print media portfolio and the new owners have canned all 161 employees, according to a post on the Columbia Journalism Review website.
Advance Local CEO Randy Sigel described the sale of the Times-Picayune, a 182-year-old daily newspaper, as a “one-off,” but the move calls attention to the precarious position of the print media.
“Could this happen to the Staten Island Advance, Jersey Journal or Star-Ledger? The New York Post quoted a source as asking.
The Star-Ledger’s daily paid circulation has dropped from about 430,000 in 2012 to about 170,000 in 2017. Daily paid circulation of the Times-Picayune fell from about 257,000 in 2005 – just before New Orleans was flooded during Hurricane Katrina – to around 84,000.
The terms of the private transaction were not made public.
The announcement of the sale of the New Orleans newspaper, as well as their NOLA.com website, comes as some Jersey Journal reporters and editors begin a quest to unionize.
Shareholders of Gannett, which owns eight daily newspapers in New Jersey, are set to vote next week on a hostile takeover bid that could imperil the careers of even more local reporters.