Seven ProJo employees taking buyout, parent company New Media reports 1Q loss

THE PARENT OF the Providence Journal has purchased the Austin American-Statesman for $47.5 million. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
THE PARENT OF the Providence Journal has purchased the Austin American-Statesman for $47.5 million. / PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD

PROVIDENCE – At least seven Providence Journal employees have signed up to take the latest buyout offer, Providence Newspaper Guild President John Hill said Thursday.

That includes two editorial employees, reporters Karen Lee Ziner and Greg Smith, and two in management, John Kostrzewa, assistant managing editor, Commerce and Consumer Desk, and Deputy Executive Editor Peter Phipps, Hill said. Smith also is treasurer of the newspaper guild, he said.

An additional three people in advertising are taking the buyout. The deadline to accept the offer was Wednesday, Hill said.

Hill said management has said that there will be no layoffs in editorial. A letter announcing the buyout offer said that “additional adjustments” were needed to properly align costs.

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Those who take the buyout will receive three days of severance pay at their base rate for each year of service completed with a minimum payout of three days and maximum payout of 12 weeks of base pay. The exception is for employees with 40 years or more of service; they will receive 26 weeks of base pay, he said.

Meanwhile, New Media Investment Group Inc., whose Gatehouse Media owns the Providence Journal, reported a revenue increase of 2.5 percent in the first quarter, to $307.5 million from $300.1 million a year ago.

It reported a $3.7 million loss, or 7 cents a diluted share, compared with profit in the year-ago quarter of $5 million, or 11 cents a diluted share. The company blamed write-downs for its print facility consolidation on the loss.

Digital revenue rose to $31.3 million, a 13.8 percent increase over the year. Its Propel Business Services division, which is its small- and medium-business solutions platform, saw revenue climb 55.9 percent over the year, to $15.3 million.

The company highlighted several initiatives in the quarter, including the acquisition of the Ohio-based publishing division of the Wooster Republican Printing Co. in January for $21.2 million. It also said New Media’s events business, Gatehouse Live, is seeing growth across its top 25 markets, with 28 events held in the first quarter and more than 150 booked for the year. New Media said it expects to double revenue in this category to approximately $15 million compared with last year.

Lori Stabile is the PBN Web Editor. 

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