Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The weekly Westport Minuteman and Fairfield Minuteman newspapers have become the latest in a series of media belt tightening, with reporters at both papers let go, a source familiar with the actions said today.
In addition more than 15 other journalists in Connecticut at 21st Century Media and Digital First Media CT, successor to Journal Register Company, have been dismissed and today were joined by a number of classified advertising employees, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In Westport, Bonnie Adler, who began reporting for the Minuteman in 2000, was laid off, as well as Meg Learson Grosso in Fairfield, the source said.
All reporting will now fall on the shoulders of the papers’ editors, Tom Henry in Westport and Donna Sarocco in Fairfield. The editors, however, should get some relief as they are not responsible for the papers’ layouts, nor will they be required to travel to the 21st Century Media offices in New Haven.
The Minuteman newspapers began 20 years ago when the late Lisa Connell, who had been let go from as editor of the Westport News, enlisted investors to start a competitive paper, the Westport Minuteman. The Fairfield Minuteman followed.
Both papers were later sold with Journal Register Company the last in a succession of buyers. The assets of Journal Register Company and its affiliates were sold last year to 21st CMH Acquisition Co. The Journal Register Company then became known as 21st Century Media. Its Connecticut unit is Digital First Media CT.
The current layoffs reflect a downsizing trend at the two newspapers as the parent company emphasizes its Internet and digital coverage.
In 2000, the Westport Minuteman had two full-time reporters, a full time sports editor, a cartoonist/columnist, a photographer, a Good Living section editor, as well as an editor. Now, it is just the editor and sports editor.
Today, Adler seemed more nostalgic than bitter about the job loss.
“I’ve had the unique privilege of being a reporter in Westport with the Minuteman for over a decade,” she said.
“I’ve covered riveting stories like murders and hurricanes, and long-fought out battles like the Westport Y’s move to Mahackeno. I’ve done features on scores of fascinating and caring individuals, and written hundreds of stories about daily life. I love this town, and the people in it.”
Posted 02/25/14 at 04:38 AM Permalink
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A totally unnecessary and irrelevant paper, stuffed without request into each Westport mailbox, has now assured each resident that it will be even more useless. If advertisers did not realize just how feeble the rag is, it would not need to lay off the few reporters it has on staff.