The Alabama state employees’ pension fund is taking the axe to its newspapers on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley — again.
CNHI, the Birmingham, Ala.-based chain that owns four daily newspapers and four weeklies north of Boston, has eliminated 36 full- and part-time jobs. The dailies affected by the layoffs are the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, the Daily News of Newburyport, the Salem News and the Gloucester Daily Times. The chain whacked 52 jobs in 2008.
“We have done our best to weather economic difficulties, but like many companies we must take further steps to sustain the long-term success of the company by reducing staffing levels again,” a CNHI publisher, Al Getler, said in a statement posted online.
But it’s not all bad news for CNHI — if you’re fortunate enough to be near the seat of power. The company recently announced that it would move to Alabama’s state capital, Montgomery, and take up residence in a 12-story building being constructed by its chief investor, Retirement Systems of Alabama. The move is expected to take place in 2012.
We subscribe to the Salem News, and we continue to be impressed with the good job done by the reporters, photographers and editors every day. (Disclosure: Mrs. Media Nation was a Salem News photographer until eight years ago.)
But working conditions have been pretty difficult. For the past several years, most employees have had to take roughly a week of unpaid furlough every quarter. And now things have gotten considerably worse.
No doubt management is having a difficult time of it. The Salem News is pretty light on ads most days. But hollowing out the product year by year is a recipe for eventual closure, not revival. If there is a vision beyond continued cutting, it’s certainly not apparent to readers — or to the journalists who still work there.
Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery.