Journalism and COVID-19: California Newsrooms Affected

This page is part of Journalism and COVID-19: The Toll of a Pandemic, PEN America’s project covering the toll of the coronavirus crisis on the journalism industry in the United States. For “Newsrooms Affected,” we looked at five U.S. states with among the most negatively affected newsrooms; California was one of the states. Here are the California newsrooms that have faced furloughs, layoffs, pay cuts, reduced hours, shifts to solely online coverage, suspension of print, temporary or permanent closures, reduced print schedules, or mergers as a result of the pandemic.

Last updated: March 30, 2021

The Appeal-Democrat

The Appeal-Democrat logo

Location: Marysville, CA
Founded: 1860
Actions:

Excerpt from The Appeal-Democrat’s note to readers and advertisers:
“The Appeal has gone through several changes in the past few years, mainly in reaction to forces of the market and financial necessity. We have markedly cut back on personnel, deferred maintenance and improvements, and cut expenses to maintain profitability.

“While most of those changes have been in reaction to the marketplace, we believe that these coming changes are being made proactively. We’re taking this posture because we absolutely intend on continuing to be this region’s primary vehicle for dissemination of news, features, commercial and legal advertising.”

The Argonaut

The Argonaut logo

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1971
Action: Laid off staffers (unknown number)

From a tweet by Joe Piasecki, editor of The Argonaut:
“As of last Friday I am no longer with @ArgonautNews. Wasn’t my choice. If you value local news, now’s the time to support it. Write a short letter to the editor. It reminds advertisers that smart people are reading.”

Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press, and La Cañada Valley Sun

Burbank Leader logo

Glendale News-Press logo

La Cańada Valley Sun logo

Location: Burbank, CA; Glendale, CA; and La Cañada, CA respectively
Founded: 1908 (originally as the Burbank Daily Review), 1905, and 1946 respectively
Actions:

Quote from Charlie Plowman, owner of Outlook Newspapers, via the Los Angeles Times’s story:
“We are thrilled to have acquired three iconic newspapers with deep roots and historic legacies in their respective communities. I heard the outpouring from local residents, as to how much they love these publications, and want to support them. . . We feel that local journalism is critical to the life of a healthy city. . . What readers will see in the months to come is our commitment to quality journalism as we cover local events, write feature stories, perform investigative reporting and highlight the community’s youth through their achievements in academics, athletics and the arts.”

The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine

The California Sunday Magazine logo

Pop-Up Magazine logo

Location: Based in San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2014 and 2009 respectively
Actions:

Excerpt from a note to readers by Douglas McGray, editor-in-chief of The California Sunday Magazine, following the magazine’s discontinuation of print in June 2020:
“You all know our commitment to deeply reported stories, unforgettable photography, and beautiful design. None of that is going to change. But it’s time for our format to evolve. We’ll continue our ambitious work online and in other ways, but we’ve decided to discontinue the print edition of The California Sunday Magazine. . . We’re facing the most difficult economic conditions of our lifetimes, especially for a small company that depends on live events and sponsorship. A big-circulation print magazine won’t be viable for us this year or next year, so it seems like the right time to evolve. We’ll miss the print magazine. But we’re looking forward to showing you what comes next. Thanks for reading.”

Excerpt from a letter by The Pop-Up / California Sunday Guild, following layoffs and the shuttering of The California Sunday Magazine, to Douglas McGray and Chas Edwards (publisher of The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine), via Twitter:
“Yesterday was an incredibly sad day for all of us. We’re devastated about California Sunday ceasing publication, and the announcement of cuts across the company. We’re proud of the work we’ve done together, and it’s an already difficult time to be saying goodbye to many of our colleagues.

We don’t underestimate the stress yesterday caused you two, either — we understand that you were in a very difficult position. But we believe your actions violated legal and moral obligations, and we’re sending this note to be clear about the implications of those violations on the team you care about. . .

“These cuts have huge ramifications for the people informed of their termination — and for those who will continue to work at Pop-Up Magazine Productions. Those who were let go must scramble to make plans, without any information on severance. People still at the company must figure out how to tell stories with limited budget and resources, and in the absence of an investor. . .

“The lives of everyone at our company changed yesterday. Undoubtedly, yours did too. But unlike you, we did not have the benefit of foresight — a foresight that we were legally owed. We require your cooperation to chart a path forward, for those who were let go and for those who remain.”

Chico Enterprise-Record

Chico Enterprise-Record logo

Location: Chico, CA
Founded: 1853
Action: Furloughed two sports reporters

Excerpt from an op-ed by Mike Wolcott, editor of Chico Enterprise-Record:
“I miss the camaraderie. . . I look at the faces on my computer screen, wonder how they keep going, and give thanks every single day that they care so much.

“They are Dan Reidel, Laura Urseny, Jake Hutchison, Camille von Kaenel, Natalie Hanson, the sort-of-retired Steve Schoonover, Sharon Martin, Matt Bates, Carin Dorghalli, Mathew Miranda, Sally Mau, Rick Silva, Kyra Gottesman and Anna Maguire, who picked probably the craziest time imaginable to take on an internship. And maybe especially, Will Denner and Justin Couchot — two dedicated writers who, like too many across the land, found themselves on furlough status this week with no sports to cover.

“Chico is lucky to have so many journalists — actually drawing a paycheck or not — who are still going the extra mile. They’re all doing it for the same reason: to keep you informed in a way nobody else can.”

Chico News & Review and Sacramento News & Review

Chico News & Review logo

Sacramento News & Review logo

Location: Chico, CA and Sacramento, CA respectively
Founded: 1853 and 1977 respectively
Actions:

Excerpt from a note to readers by Jeff vonKaenel, president and CEO of Sacramento News & Review:
“Over the years, we have experienced numerous crises. We were able to use our financial reserves to pull us through those times when advertising revenues were less than expenses. We were able to keep the paper going and to continue to provide local coverage.

“But over the last ten years, as more and more businesses have moved their advertising dollars to Facebook and Google, the foundation of the media business model has crumbled. These large internet companies collected revenues without having to generate expensive local coverage. This has caused a crisis for most media companies, including the News & Review.

“The community cost of not having good information during a crisis is staggering. People need to know what their local governments and public health organizations are doing. They need to know what is happening with schools and daycare. They need to know how local businesses are adapting services, such as restaurants that are pivoting to take-out and delivery. And they need help dealing with the emotional side of such a crisis. We know other local journalists—at The Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio and elsewhere—will step up.

“But our community needs all hands on deck. And we want to help. While we will suspend publication of our print newspaper, we will continue to provide news and arts coverage online on our blog: sacramento.newsreview.com.

“At our sister paper in Chico, we produced more than 300 stories after the 2018 Camp Fire devastated Paradise. Our award-winning journalism helped the community cope with the aftermath. The impact of this coronavirus crisis will also be long-lasting.”

East Bay Times

East Bay Times logo

Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Founded: 1947
Action: Thirteen furloughed, including the entire sports staff

From a tweet by the San Jose Mercury News Guild:
“What we know so far: the entire sports staff of The Mercury News and East Bay Times are being furloughed. On top of their sports coverage they have been critical in the breaking news reporting our readers rely on during COVID-19.”

Easy Reader News

Easy Reader News logo

Location: Serves the communities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach
Founded: 1970
Action: Laid off the entire staff and returned to its “volunteer roots”

Excerpt from a note to readers by Kevin Cody, publisher of Easy Reader News:
“This is not the first time since Easy Reader’s founding by a volunteer staff 50 years ago that the staff has been laid off. And it will not be the last time. The paper will come back, as we all will, only to be overwhelmed by a new, unforeseen challenge. And then to rise again.”

Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Fort Bragg Advocate-News logo

Location: Fort Bragg, CA
Founded: 1889
Actions:

  • Furloughed two employees, including the paper’s only staff reporter
  • Reduced print publication from two, six-page sections to one, 10-page section

Excerpt from the Fort Bragg Advocate-News’s editorial on the changes at the paper:
“Perhaps local journalism is only very important in the minds of the people who provide it? We hope not. Perhaps it’s hard to see how a local paper can make a difference? But it’s been proven time and again that communities are much the lesser for having lost their local media outlets. . . We will continue to print the news, regardless of how many pages we have to do that on, until we are physically barred from doing so.

“But we desperately require your support. Now, more than ever.”

The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter logo

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1930
Action: Roughly 30 percent of editorial staff laid off by parent company Valence Media

Excerpt from a memo to staff by Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu, co-CEOs of Valence Media, via Deadline’s story:
“Though these are uncertain times, we made these decisions assuming that our society will emerge from lockdown over the course of the summer and early fall, and that there will be a fairly serious global recession for at least one year. We do not anticipate any more COVID-19 related actions unless conditions fall below that threshold.”

Excerpt from a column by Todd McCarthy, lead film critic at The Hollywood Reporter who was among the editorial staff laid off:
“A month ago I was surprised, out of nowhere, to get a nice raise. Yesterday I got the boot. By guys I’ve never met. Apparently if you make over a certain amount, you’re suddenly too expensive for the new owners of The Hollywood Reporter, which has recently been reported as losing in the vicinity of $15 million per year. Dozens are being forced to walk the plank. It’s a bloodbath.

“Then again, I’ve seen this all before. During my 44-year career at the trades—with occasional time-outs to write books and make documentary films—I’ve had two stints each at Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, each gratifying and exciting in their own ways. Twice I left voluntarily to pursue other projects, twice I was let go when management changed hands and Robespierres took over, and twice more I was courted by new editors whom I choose to consider highly enlightened.”

KPBS

KPBS logo

Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 1967
Actions:

  • Laid off three staffers
  • Moved 15 staffers to part-time

Statement by KPBS, via Current’s story:
“Like many media organizations right now, we are seeing an increase in audience but a decrease in revenue. We saw this back in April and trimmed our operational expenses. However, it wasn’t enough. The economic impact of the pandemic is ongoing. The reduction in hours for a small percentage of employees allowed us to reduce the budget and keep position eliminations to a few. We are hopeful this will be a temporary change and that we will be able to weather the storm and bring back our staff to full-time.”

Excerpt from a statement by WeMakeKPBS, the SAG-AFTRA unionized content creators that make up KPBS:
“Today we are heartbroken to share that three of our union colleagues are being laid off and eight are having their hours reduced by 50%. Another seven of our non-union colleagues are also seeing their hours cut in half. These measures, prompted by the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, go into effect July 1 and currently have no end date.

“We’ve been silent on this until now because we wanted to give KPBS time to reconsider. Our members expressed unanimous willingness to collaborate with management on alternatives, such as buyouts, pay cuts or a work sharing program, that would keep our colleagues gainfully employed during this crisis. Unions and management at the LA Times, NPR and many other news outlets have done this. Unfortunately, management has refused to work with us. They’ve even failed to show up to some of our meetings.”

From a tweet by Mel S, KPBS staffer who had their hours cut:
“I moved to San Diego when I was 25 years old to take a job at KPBS. Today I am 45 and have dedicated my whole heart and self for 20 years. As of July 1, my hours will be cut in half, rendering me unable to survive in this pandemic job market.”

KQED

KQED logo

Location: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1953
Actions:

  • Laid off 20 staffers
  • Reduced hours for handful of other employees

Quotes from KQED’s story on the changes at the radio station:
“This is a time like no other and circumstances we could not have predicted. We’re all hurting today and I feel deeply for the staff we’ve had to let go.”
—Michael Isip, President and CEO, KQED

“Paul Rogers helped build the science unit and turn it into one of the most impressive science news teams on the West Coast, if not the entire country. Paul is a wonderful colleague, a unique talent and we will miss him dearly.”
—Holly Kernan, Chief Content Officer at KQED, on part-time managing editor Paul Rogers who was among the staffers laid off

From a tweet by Polly Stryker, editor at KQED:
“So this happened today. I’m one of the 5 in news. So sad, sorry, and now, looking forward.”

KTVU

KTVU logo

Location: Oakland, CA
Founded: 1957
Action: Laid off four staffers

Excerpt from The Mercury News’s story:
“Late last week, Scott Reiss, a sports anchor and reporter at KTVU, was informed that he was included among several layoffs at the Oakland station.

“‘KTVU eliminated my position because of COVID,’ he told the Bay Area News Group.

“Reiss was let go, along with Pete Lupetti, a veteran sports producer. Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman was the first to report the cuts. He also wrote that a special projects person and a senior producer were let go, and that ‘more cuts are expected soon.’”

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times logo

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1947
Actions:

  • Furloughed 40 employees
  • Cut the pay of senior managers

Quotes from Chris Argentieri, president of California Times (publishing company of the Los Angeles Times), in staff memos via The New York Times’s story:
“Due to the unexpected effects of Covid-19, our advertising revenue has nearly been eliminated.”

“The Times has lost more than one-third of its advertising revenue and expects to lose more than half of its advertising revenue in the coming months.”

“While we’ve made significant progress in growing our digital subscriber base and developing other sources of revenue, it is not yet enough to offset the losses.”

Excerpt from a statement by officers of The Media Guild of the West:
“The L.A. Times Guild is troubled to learn about unpaid furloughs of up to 16 weeks being given to some of our colleagues on the business side of our company, with 401k contributions suspended for non-union employees and temporary pay cuts for some managers. While they are not in our union, they are our co-workers and friends, and it is through no fault of their own that extraordinary circumstances have interrupted the essential work they do. . .

“Make no mistake: The news industry has been thrown into a crisis that is much bigger than any one newsroom or any one company. Journalism needs help, and not just in Los Angeles. Tens of thousands of local journalists across the country have lost their jobs, seen their pay slashed or been forced to temporarily stop working at the exact moment public interest in their work — and the importance of accurate information — has never been greater.”

The Mendocino Beacon

The Medocino Bacon logo

Location: Mendocino, CA
Founded: 1877
Action: Furloughed two employees

Excerpt from an editorial by Robin Epley, editor of Fort Bragg Advocate-News and Mendocino Beacon, discussing how cutbacks at both papers have bled into anger in the communities:
“In this column two weeks ago, we announced that due to cutbacks at the newspaper, we would be unable to run the nearly 200 photos of graduates at Fort Bragg and Mendocino high schools. But it wasn’t until someone put it up on a local blog last week that the message seemed to permeate through the communities. . .

“Like every other business in town, your newspapers have had to make serious cuts to staff and time. As far as the owners know, I’m on official furlough for the next week — but I’ve made adjustments to stay here through that time, and keep putting the papers out through the graduation season.

“From the bottom of my heart, we wish we could run the photos, but it’s simply not possible with the resources that we have right now. Not only am I the only remaining editorial staff in the Advocate-News and Beacon newsrooms, but the paper is actually put designed in Chico, at a Northern California hub — and they’ve lost half of their staff. . .

“In a world filled with sheer cliffs of uncertainty about that future — please believe right now that we’re all doing the most and the best we possibly can.”

The Mercury News

The Mercury News logo

Location: San Jose, CA
Founded: 1851
Actions:

From a tweet by the San Jose Mercury News Guild:

“What we know so far: the entire sports staff of The Mercury News and East Bay Times are being furloughed. On top of their sports coverage they have been critical in the breaking news reporting our readers rely on during COVID-19.”

From a tweet by David DeBolt, senior breaking news reporter at The Mercury News and the East Bay Times:
“one of the layoffs was @rexcrum — Silicon Valley’s hometown paper, the San Jose Mercury News, loses another tech reporter. we now have…zero reporters dedicated to covering tech? in a time where tech needs more scrutiny”

Monterey County Weekly

Monterey County Weekly logo

Location: Monterey County, CA
Founded: 1988
Actions:

  • Laid off one-third of the staff
  • Reduced the salaries of three staffers
  • CEO eliminated his salary
  • Publisher took a significant pay cut

Quotes and excerpt from Monterey County Weekly’s story on the changes at the paper:
“The Weekly absolutely relies on local, independent businesses, and while our advertisers are shut down, we made the difficult decision to reduce staff across all departments in order to weather the storm. Our whole business model is about bringing people together. And right now, people are physically isolated. The Weekly is committed to serving the community in this difficult time. While we are a strong company, with the tourism industry hemorrhaging and all public concerts and events shuttered, we made a heart-wrenching decision to let go of seven of our staff until conditions improve.”
—Bradley Zeve, Founder and CEO, Monterey County Weekly

“People in the community rely on us. The Weekly will persevere in its journalistic and business mission because the alternative is that people get their information from Facebook and NextDoor, and that is not the remedy from what ails us all.”
—Erik Cushman, Publisher, Monterey County Weekly

“It was a tearful meeting on Tuesday. The seven people we’ve lost are part of the Weekly family. From the editorial department, we say goodbye to Managing Editor Dave Faries and staff writer/calendar mastermind Marielle Argueza; in the production department, two graphic designers Raul Magallanes and Alexis Estrada; and from the sales team, Tracy Vasquez, Marvin Green IV and Arno Featherstone. 

“These are people who gave it their all and are truly invested in the Weekly’s mission: to inspire independent thinking and conscious action, etc. 

“The group that’s left remains committed to that mission, even if we’re doing it heartbroken for our colleagues and without key people who helped us to fulfill the mission.”
—Sara Rubin, Editor, Monterey County Weekly

Monterey Herald

Monterey Herald logo

Location: Monterey County, CA
Founded: 1990
Action: Furloughed a sports reporter and an ad executive until the end of April

Excerpt from Digital First Media Workers’ blog post covering MediaNews Group/Alden Global Capital’s layoffs and furloughs:
“At The Monterey Herald in California, the already bare-bones newsroom was cut further, with one sports reporter, who staffers said had been reassigned to help with COVID-19 coverage, was furloughed until April 30, along with an advertising account executive.”

Mountain View Voice

Mountain View Voice logo

Location: Mountain View, CA
Founded: 1992
Action: Suspended publication of its print edition and moved fully online

Excerpt and quote from an article by the Mountain View Voice staff:
“The Voice will continue and expand its extensive online reporting as the only news organization devoted to local news coverage of the community. With monthly unique visitors now exceeding 300,000 and 10,000 receiving Express, our free daily news digest email, Mountain View Online is the primary source of local news on the virus crisis and all other local issues for residents.”
Mountain View Voice Staff

“As an advertising-dependent business, it is simply not viable to continue absorbing the high costs of printing and mailing newspapers in this environment. Our hope is that readers and major community institutions will recognize the important role we play in Mountain View and step up to help stabilize the Voice through subscriptions and Institutional Memberships. Our ability to weather the COVID-19 crisis and the associated economic impacts depends on thousands more readers becoming subscribing members. That will help us shift our revenue model from one dependent on struggling small businesses to one that relies on readers each contributing a modest amount of as little as $5 per month.”
—Bill Johnson, President, Embarcadero Media (parent company of the Mountain View Voice)

NBC Sports Bay Area

NBC Sports Bay Area logo

Location: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2007
Action: Laid off 17 staffers

Statement by an NBCUniversal spokesperson, via Barrett Sports Media’s story:
“Due to the ongoing economic challenges caused by the pandemic and with the need to better position NBCUniversal for the future, we have made a number of difficult decisions to achieve cost savings, including eliminating some roles across the portfolio.”

Excerpt from a tweet by Kelli Johnson, host of “Giants Pregame Live” and “Giants Postgame Live” at NBC Sports Bay Area, who was among the 17 staffers laid off:
“It took me a day to process… but after nearly 18 years at NBC Sports (DC/Houston/SF), I have been told that my contract will not be renewed. I was not alone in getting let go yesterday, so many talented friends & people also lost their jobs. But I have to admit, I had a great run and am so grateful for the amazing friends I met along the way.

“I’m also really proud of the great work we did at all three NBC Sports Regionals, I was fortunate enough to work at. I’m devastated it had to end, but thankful for the incredible opportunities and experiences I was afforded, thru my two decade career with Comcast/NBC, the only work family I’ve really known. I was lucky for sure.”

From tweets by Danny Pedroza, who was part of the social media team at NBC Sports Bay Area and among the 17 staffers laid off:
“Got the word today that I am getting let go from NBC Sports after 2.5 years. Was really a dream to cover the teams I grew up rooting for, and we created some incredible content along the way. Excited to get outside, play some golf and spend time with my kids, who have been incredibly patient with their dad as he spent the last 4.5 months staring at a computer. Onward and upward.”

Palo Alto Daily Post

Palo Alto Daily Post logo

Location: Palo Alto, CA
Founded: 2008
Actions:

Excerpt from the Palo Alto Daily Post’s note to readers:
“The stay-at-home order resulting from the coronavirus outbreak is making life challenging for everyone, including the local news media.

“As a result, the Post has temporarily switched to a four-day-a-week publishing schedule. . .

“The Post appreciates the community’s support in this crisis. We’ve received many emails and letters of support. Our delivery people are gratified when they’re greeted by readers who are happy to get that morning’s edition.”

San Diego CityBeat

San Diego CityBeat logo

Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 2002 (originally SLAMM magazine; rebranded as San Diego CityBeat after Southland Publishing purchased SLAMM)
Action: Paused publication

From the note on San Diego CityBeat’s website:
“Your San Diego CityBeat is Paused but not Gone!

“In light of the significant impact COVID-19 has had on the events in our great city, and the role CityBeat has had for decades in helping to raise awareness and promote those events, we have been forced to pause publishing the publication. We know our loyal readers will understand. We are in this together. Until then, be safe and STAY STRONG!”

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles logo

Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 1979
Action: Shuttered completely, laying off nine full-time employees (including a couple that had been with the magazine for more than 20 years)

Excerpt from San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles’s note to readers:
San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine today writes its final chapter in a 41-year-history that included many editors, art directors, writers and photographers over the years.

“We, the team that redesigned the magazine in 2018, thanks you, our loyal readers, writers, photographers, partners and community, for sticking with us, championing our efforts, contributing your talents and being part of the stories we so passionately told.

“The April issue was our last. And, sadly we will no longer be continuing our website or social platforms.

“Thank you for your support and love. We’ll miss you!”

Quote from Mark McKinnon, owner of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, via the Times of San Diego’s story:
“We’re going to circle back after everything clears. We’re going to look at it and. . . possibly come back. It could be a different format. . . could be more digital. . . Something will come of it. If it’s not me, who knows? Maybe somebody else will want to take over the brand. We put out a great product and we have a great reputation in the community.”

San Diego Magazine

San Diego Magazine logo

Location: San Diego, CA
Founded: 1948
Action: Laid off almost its entire staff and essentially shuttered, keeping only two financial employees to wrap everything up

Quote from Jim Fitzpatrick, owner of San Diego Magazine, via the Voice of San Diego’s story:
“San Diego Magazine is a 72-year-old brand and I will not let it die. This is hopefully a short pause.”

Quote from Jamie Reno, who wrote for San Diego Magazine for two decades, via the Times of San Diego’s story:
“Sad news both for journalism and for journalists — especially those of us who call ourselves ‘magazine writers.’”

From a tweet by Sarah Pfledderer, senior editor at San Diego Magazine, who was one of the laid off employees:
“Devastated to be one of these 37 employees, but hopeful our magazine will return. Support your local news outlets and journalists. Whether you like what they’re reporting right now or not, they work hard to build up reliable sources and serve us—all of us, especially in crisis.”

San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly

San Francisco Examiner logo

SF Weekly logo

Location: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 1863 and mid-1980s respectively
Action: Reduced the hours and pay of staff

Excerpt from a note to readers by Deborah Petersen, editor-in-chief of San Francisco Media Company (parent company of the San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly):
“This week, I was faced with the heartbreaking task of reducing the hours — and therefore the pay — of the very journalists, including myself, who report, write, edit and photograph that news.

“Besides daily updates about the growing number of cases in San Francisco, and a constant stream of crucial breaking news about the coronavirus, they report on its far-reaching impact on the lives of residents: job losses, mental health, people left behind, transit operators and more. They do this every day in a city that is essentially in lockdown.

“Our mission at the San Francisco Media Co. has always been to provide local news online and in print that is unencumbered by paywalls and subscription fees. Doing that requires the support of our advertisers, and you (more on that to come). Unfortunately, many of our advertisers have been forced to close, or else they are significantly cutting expenses in an effort to stay afloat. And it is becoming clear that the battle to limit the spread of this deadly virus will take months, not weeks. Without the usual advertising revenues coming in, we have had to take dramatic steps to reduce our expenses.”

Southern California News Group

Southern California News Group logo

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founded: 1884
Actions:

  • Furloughed roughly 50 employees across its newsrooms
  • Laid off several other employees

Excerpt from an open letter to readers by Ron Hasse, publisher and president of Southern California News Group:
“Right now, the breadth and scope of the challenges facing public health, let alone social and economic wellbeing, seem overwhelming. The coronavirus outbreak is the most serious crisis the world has faced in generations.

“At Southern California News Group, it is our sacred trust to meet readers’ needs for knowledge about the current public health crisis, and so much more. . . 

“It’s no secret the coronavirus pandemic is negatively impacting businesses, ours included. That’s why now, more than ever, we are relying on support from valued readers like you.

“To our subscribers, thank you. The news we deliver is vital, and your support of our work is critical. As a subscriber, you also have access to our entire digital portfolio, allowing you to engage with us more deeply.”

Quote from an anonymous Southern California News Group employee, via Laist’s story:
“Everyone is livid. Some of our entertainment staff feel discarded. They did as much work, if not more, than the rest of the newsroom over the last month. They had to cover the total collapse of the entertainment industry — event cancellations, theme parks closing, casinos shuttering, all of that stuff. And then management turns around and does this to them. It sucks.”

The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah Daily Journal logo

Location: Ukiah, CA
Founded: 1868
Action: Furloughed four employees, including two editorial staffers

Excerpt from a note to readers of The Mendocino Voice by Chris Pugh, photographer at The Mendocino Voice and former chief photographer at The Ukiah Daily Journal, who was among the furloughed employees at The Ukiah Daily Journal:
“I come to Mendo Voice from the Ukiah Daily Journal, where for the past five years, I worked as the chief photographer. During my time at the newspaper I covered stories both large and small — from farmer’s markets to wildfires as I like to say. As the pandemic was starting to reach Mendocino County, the owners of the newspaper, Media News Group, a.k.a. Digital First Media, furloughed a large portion of the staff, including two positions in the editorial department, one of which was me.”

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