Trib Total Media, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, announce major staff reductions
Company owned for many years by the heir to the Mellon bank fortune, also announced it has taken a 40 percent stake in the conservative news company Newsmax Media
Trib Total Media, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Greensburg Tribune-Review and the Valley News Dispatch, said yesterday it would layoff 143 staff, representing 14 percent of the total workforce. The reorganization also will involve closing a printing plant and possibly shutter two newspapers if buyers can’t be found for the properties by the end of the year.
“The digital landscape has dramatically altered how consumers get their news and it is critical that we evolve as a company to deliver the where, when and how our readers would like to receive it,” said Jennifer Bertetto, president Trib Total Media.
“Unfortunately, the buyouts, sales and closings of the newspapers are not the end of the personnel changes that are required for the Trib to adapt to the changing business environment,” said Bertetto. “We have been forced to further evaluate the future of our business and identify additional ways to improve the overall financial health of the company. With that, we are compelled to make the incredibly tough decision to lay off 153 of the approximately 1,100 full- and part-time Trib Total Media employees across the company.”
The company, at the same time, announced it had acquired a 40 percent stake in the right-wing digital news company Newsmax Media. Newsmax was founded by a former Tribune-Review reporter Christopher Ruddy in 1998, and its investors included the late Tribune-Review publisher, Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon banking fortune. The investment will create a new affiliate, 535 Media, which will help in the relaunch of the paper’s website at TribLive.com.
Employees notified of the layoffs were told they will work through the end of the year. On January 1 the company will then consolidate the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Greensburg Tribune-Review and the Valley News Dispatch into one paper simply called called the Tribune-Review.
The company said it would also trim back its home delivery in less readership in outlying counties.
The newspapers involved trace their heritage back to the Greensburg Gazette founded in 1811. The paper bought by Scaife in 1970 and has been the conservative paper compared to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, owned by Block Communications. Scaife expanded the reach of the paper in 1992 when there was a strike at the Post-Gazette. It was Scaife who was instrumental in pumping up the story of that the death of Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster was tied to the Clintons. Scaife paid Christopher Ruddy, then a freelancer, to write about the Foster case, and later invested in Newsmax.
The Tribune-Review has a daily circulation of just over 100K, compared to the Post-Gazette’s daily circulation of around 155K.