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Paxton: Your turn, Vincennes (IN) and Owensboro (KY)

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Central-KY-Kid, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. http://www.courierpress.com/news/2008/aug/07/07web-newspapers/?printer=1/

    Vincennes, Owensboro newspapers lay off workers
    By Dan Shaw
    Originally published 09:41 a.m., August 7, 2008
    Updated 09:41 a.m., August 7, 2008

    Employees at the Vincennes and Owensboro, Ky., newspapers have lost their jobs in recent days.

    Kevin Kilmer, a former photographer, said he and others at the Vincennes Sun-Commercial were laid off Monday. The following day, it was the turn of employees at the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, according to Karen Owen, a former reporter there.

    Both newspapers are owned by the Paxton Media Group, which has its headquarters in Paducah, Ky. Company executives had not returned several calls for comment by Wednesday evening.

    Kilmer said the layoff came as a shock. Besides him, employees in the newspaper’s newsroom and accounting department lost their jobs, he said, while others in the newspaper’s pressroom, mailroom and graphic-arts department were told they would be out of work by Aug. 24.

    The Vincennes newspaper will soon be printed somewhere in Kentucky, he said, although he wasn’t certain where.

    Kilmer said he had heard no rumors that Paxton might lay off employees this week. When he came to work Monday, the publisher of the newspaper escorted him to a room where two Paxton executives sat.

    “They simply told me that due to economic conditions they were eliminating my position,” said Kilmer, who had worked at the newspaper for 12 years and was the only full-time photographer on staff. Reporters will take photographs in the future, he said.

    Another of the laid-off employees is Chrystal Holmes, a former news editor who had worked at the Vincennes Sun-Commercial for 17 1/2 years.

    “I had no warning,” she said. “I heard the company finances were tight. But I didn’t realize it was that serious.”

    Holmes said she had won a number of awards at the paper and was proud of her work.

    “It wasn’t a job,” she said. “This was my career. I loved to write, lay out pages, design pages. And in a blink, it’s gone.”

    At the Owensboro newspaper, Owen believed at least four workers had lost their jobs, although she wasn’t certain. She had worked there for 27 years, most of them spent writing about religion and values.

    “I hadn’t had any bad reviews or anything like that,” she said. “It was an economic decision.”

    All newspaper companies have struggled to maintain revenue as more advertisers have switched to using the Internet. Revenue from print advertising dropped 9.4 percent in 2007, according to the Newspaper Association of America. Mitigating the decline was an 18.8 percent rise in revenue from online advertising, but total revenue from newspaper ads fell 7.9 percent last year.

    Few newspapers have escaped untouched. In July, the E.W. Scripps Co., based in Cincinnati, announced it would cut 13 jobs at both The Evansville Courier & Press and The Gleaner.

    Paxton bought the Vincennes Sun-Commercial in 2002 from the Gannett Company, which had acquired the newspaper two years earlier in a deal that included the Indianapolis Star. Paxton completed its purchase of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer on Jan. 1, 2001. Before then the newspaper had been owned by the A.H. Belo Corp., the publisher of the Dallas Morning News.
  2. Paul Wilcoxen

    Paul Wilcoxen New Member

    I know a couple people who work at the Sun Commercial and I know of Mr. Kilmer. I used to work at a neighboring newspaper and had a good working relationship with the sports department there. I also worked for a Paxton paper for a few weeks and I am now glad I got out of there. I just hope CNHI doesn't eliminate my spot.
  3. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    That's typical Paxton. They wrote the book on giving people the shaft.
  4. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    What's sad is that their readers have no idea -- another paper had to report it.
  5. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    Damn, best of luck to all. Nice that they gave them a whole two weeks notice.

    Anyone know if sports was hit at these places?
  6. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Fire your only staff photog? That's maybe the silliest whacking I"ve heard.
  7. joe

    joe Active Member

    And before Belo bought the M-I, it was owned by the Hagar family for damn near ever.

    It was a great paper with great news reporters and photographers when I worked there 11 years ago. Most of the folks I worked with on the universal copy desk were like me, in their 20 or early 30s, and most have moved on, but I know Karen Owen, and there's not a nicer person you'll meet.

    Sad times, but not unexpected with Paxton in charge. Bob Ashley was the ME when I was in Owensboro. He's one of the dudes who did a hatchet job on the folks in Durham or Raleigh or whatever paper it was in North Carolina when Paxton bought it. Real peach of a guy.
  8. joe

    joe Active Member

    I'm told that Karen Owen was the only person in the newsroom to get laid off in Owensboro. Others in accounting and circulation.

    But, it's the third round of layoffs there since December. Jeebus.
  9. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    I'm surprised they didn't just can him in the parking lot and then not let him into the building to collect his personal belongings.
  10. As someone who has read the M-I, I can say most of the sportswriting is very, very weak. I think the S-E was demoted in last year as well. I could be wrong on that but I know someone named Scott is the S-E now.
    Maybe sports is next on chopping block?
  11. KG

    KG Active Member

    I wonder if they'll be making cuts at The Paducah Sun.
  12. Not sure. Hope it's not editorial staff. We could lose a few in ad dept. where I'm at, but that's always the case :)
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