Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers, which owns the Woonsocket Call, Pawtucket Times and a handful of other local papers, is poised to buy out of bankruptcy the parent company of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Bend Bulletin in Oregon.
According to Bankruptcy Court documents in filled in Federal Court in Oregon, as a condition of the deal, the seller will “terminate” all of the staff of the 126-year-old newspaper prior to the deal closing.
“Effective as of the end of business on the day immediately prior to the Closing Date, Seller shall terminate all Business Employees. Prior to the Closing Date, Buyer shall deliver, in writing, an offer of employment to those Business Employees identified by Buyer on a schedule to be delivered to Seller no later than five Business Days prior to Closing to commence such employment immediately upon the Closing Date,” according to court documents. Some of the employees potentially could be re-hired.
The paper is central Oregon’s only daily newspaper.
The Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers has slashed staffing at all of its Rhode Island newspapers, too.
Latest in Print Reductions
The cuts are rampant in the newspaper industry.
In June, it was announced by the parent company of the Providence Journal and the Newport Daily News that 50 community newspapers in New England will be merged into just 18 — 32 papers would no longer exist.
The announcement was made by the Providence Journal’s publisher Peter Meyer and fellow GateHouse executive Lisa Strattan.
“Our readers will continue to receive the same in-depth local news coverage of their town plus additional reporting from nearby communities giving them up-to-date news on what’s happening in their region. Our advertisers will receive increased print market reach, simplified buy execution and enhanced digital opportunities,” writes Meyer and Strattan.
In May, it was announced that the Valley Breeze, one of the last locally owned media companies in Rhode Island, has been sold to a Virginia-based newspaper company run by a former top executive with GateHouse Media.
The paper is being bought by Richard Whippen’s Whip It Media.
This slashing is consistent with the entire industry nationally.
Pew Research reported on Tuesday, “The number of newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 47% between 2008 and 2018, from about 71,000 workers to 38,000.”
“The dramatic decline in newspaper employment also means that the industry now accounts for a smaller portion of overall newsroom employment across the five sectors [newspaper, digital, radio, broadcast TV, and cable TV]. In 2008, newspaper newsroom employees made up about six-in-ten (62%) of all newsroom employees in these five industries. By 2018, they made up fewer than half (44%),” reports Pew.
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