New Haven’s print daily plans to continue shrinking its newsroom as its parent company prepares for an expected sale.
New Haven Register reporters, editors, photographers, and page designers learned that news at a glum 11 a.m. meeting Monday at the paper’s (for now) Sargent Drive headquarters. A second meeting for Register employees is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Regional Editor Matt DeRienzo and Publisher Kevin Corrado held the meeting in a training room at the paper. Employees learned that the paper’s parent company, Digital First, has directed its Connecticut operations to meet a goal for cutting the newsroom budget, according to people present. Though the specific dollar amount wasn’t mentioned, employees were told to expect at least as many position cuts as in the last wave of layoffs, in February, when the company slashed 10 positions.
Digital First has around 100 newsroom employees in Connecticut, 70 of them working out of the Register building. Some of those 70 employees work for not just the New Haven paper but other Digital First publications, as well. Besides the Register, Digital First owns the Middletown Press, the Torrington Register-Citizen, and Connecticut magazine, among other publications.
Before laying off anyone, management this time is offering all employees buyouts first. All employees have been offered one week’s pay for every two years they’ve worked at the paper; and one month of health insurance coverage, capped at six months, for every two years worked.
Employees have through Friday to decide whether to take the buyouts. Management will then decide how many and which employees to lay off after learning how many accept buyouts.
The hedge fund that owns Digital First is widely believed to be slashing costs nationwide in advance of selling the company.
The Register plans to move this fall to 18,000 square feet of offices in an industrial park on Gando Drive, to make way for Jordan’s Furniture to move into the 220,000 square-foot 40 Sargent Dr. plant.