Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Democrat and Chronicle newsroom changes begin, with some losses

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 11:47 AM

The Democrat and Chronicle's new newsroom is taking shape, but there have been casualties.

Executive Editor Karen Magnuson laid out some of the changes in a column on Sunday. She listed some new members of the "leadership team," and said that most of the company's journalists have been given new roles, which will start this month.But she also mentioned that five newsroom workers weren't offered jobs; in other words, they were laid off.

Those employees are said to include copy editors and two reporters.

Magnuson also noted that the company is advertising to fill positions, including a couple of editor jobs and a content coach — a position that the company hasn't publicly defined.

The Newspaper Guild of Rochester provided this statement in response to the changes and Magnuson's column:

"This reorganization has been extremely difficult for newsroom employees, and was done in a way that caused far more stress than was necessary. In the end, five of our co-workers were laid off. Perhaps twice that number have chosen to leave since this reorganization was announced. Guild members deeply regret the departure of all of these people, most of whom had spent the bulk of their working lives at this company. The loss of so many experienced journalists will be felt in the community."
In a column published at the end of October, Magnuson billed the reorganization as a way to improve the D&C's digital content while continuing to produce a print product that's valuable to readers. She reiterated those goals in Sunday's piece. Similar restructurings have been in the works at Gannett papers across the country.

In her previous column, Magnuson also pledged that the newsroom "will be leaner with fewer layers of managers but the number of reporters and photographers will remain the same."

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