Register Plans 105 Layoffs

An estimated 105 people will lose their jobs in March as the New Haven Register proceeds with a plan to close its printing operation.

The paper’s publisher, Tom Wiley, notified the state Department of Labor’s Rapid Response Unit of the plan under the WARN act, designed to give communities advance notice of pending job losses.

Click here to read the notice.

According to the notice, the Journal Register East company (the Register’s corporate parent) plans to carry out its plan to “permanently cease its newspaper print production operations ... on or about March 5. ...

“Approximately 105 employees will be separated from employment as a result of this action.”

The Register will now be printed by the Hartford Courant at its Hartford plant. So will two other Journal Register dailies, the Torrington Register Citizen and Middletown Press; as well as the Norwalk Hour, a separate daily which contracts with the Journal Register for printing.

The move was expected. Journal Register officials have said that as part of their “Digital First” plan—emphasizing the web over print to build a business model to survive in the new-media world—they want to concentrate their money and time on the “core” job of writing and editing news stories and involving readers. They are outsourcing jobs like printing and centralizing back-office operations out of state. Read about those plans here, here, here, and here.

The company has also been looking for new space for its editorial offices. It plans to sell its Long Wharf plant and station at least some reporters and editors in downtown New Haven, in a combined newsroom-public coffee shop space; and perhaps station other employees in a suburban location.

The New Haven printing operation includes three divisions, according to company Connecticut Group Editor Matt DeRienzo: the crew running the press; the mail room (which deals with inserts and grocery flyers); and the trucking section, which brings papers to distributors and drops bundles for home-deliverers. While around 105 people will lose their jobs in March, some people will continue working, mostly in the trucking division, DeRienzo said. He didn’t have an exact estimate of how many people that would be.

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posted by: Edward Francis on January 10, 2012  5:10pm

The Register is getting thiner and thiner…it use to be the best local paper around during the era of the New Haven Journal Courier.  We had the best of printed news - the morning version and then the evening edition. Growing up in the 1940’s I delivered the New Haven Register in the Goatville section of the city. Great memories, great reporters pecking away at their typewriters to keep us informed. Orange Street & Audubon Street is where the presses would bang away at assembling the papers. As they say “nothing is forever” and time marches on.  Thanks for the memories.

posted by: George on January 10, 2012  5:16pm

Corporate double-speak.  “Approximately 105 employees will be separated from employment as a result of this action.”

Employees, once separated from employment, are no longer employees.  Their employment is being terminated.  Don’t sugar-coat it.  Tell it like it is.

The Register HR/PR people could take a lesson from their editors.

posted by: Walt on January 10, 2012  5:24pm

What, if anytheing will be left?

They have few reporters locally it appears, 
and,  as I learned recently when no paper was delivered one morning,  most of their customer service reps answer th phone in Costa Rica, or some other Central American country.

posted by: paul on January 10, 2012  6:46pm

I noticed on the Hartford Courant website the other day a cryptic notice referring to changes in their production and delivery also in March, written in corporate double-speak to sound like an improvement but I got the sense it was some sort of outsourcing - now this articles says NHR to contract printing to the Courant.  Maybe there is a separate entity that will handle it for both, non-union and low wage I assume?  Confused.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 10, 2012  8:35pm

Will this affect local deliveries of the Register?  Recently subscribed for a one-year,daily delivery.  Where will the editorial staff be located?  What are the ramifications of this cost-cutting endeavor?  Will this move lower the quality of the New Haven Register?  With the printing planned to be done in Hartford—will this delay delivery of the newspaper?

posted by: Ripper on January 10, 2012  9:37pm

Will the editorial staff have to do double duty as baristas? 

“Hey, when you finish that editorial on how bad the economy is, I need a double mocha grande over here!”

posted by: SkipR on January 10, 2012  11:05pm

That’s to bad. All newspapers and magazine’s are losing funds due to the internet.The end of the print newspaper is coming to the end as we see it happening here.

posted by: anna on January 11, 2012  2:16am

“The company has also been looking for new space for its editorial offices. It plans to sell its Long Wharf plant and station at least some reporters and editors in downtown New Haven, in a combined newsroom-public coffee shop space; and perhaps station other employees in a suburban location.”

Does this mean that the Register is going to send some of their employees and editors to Starbucks????!! .... or are they going to run a public coffee shop business in the same space that they move the displaced reporters to??

posted by: WilloWisp on January 11, 2012  6:11am

Hi. I’m Karen. I’ll be your crowd-sorceress. Thanks for coming in today. We have a special on the news menu - budget meeting medley with a side of steamed crabs caught fresh at City Hall last night. I recommend the stuffed Chicken DeStefano with a pesty reporter dressing. And the Cobb Salad spiked with Nighthawk vinagrette is very popular. Oh - you cane in to place an obituary? For here or to go? Do you want fries with that?

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 11, 2012  9:55am

paul:  Your point of “non-union and low wage” is valid.  High union wages, I believe, contributed to the current-scale-down of the New Haven Register operations.  What else is new?

Unions have already forced our business and industry overseas, and are creating havoc with our state, city and town budgets.

posted by: Bruce on January 11, 2012  11:23am

Another sad loss for New Haven, though understandable I guess.  I remember touring that facility as a child in the early 80s.  If you’ve never seen a real printing press in action, get down there before they close the doors. 

In a register article, they tried to spin this as an “opportunity” for New Haven since they’re opening up prime commercial real estate—by losing the current paying tenant!  All that equipment will be sold for scrap, maybe they’ll raze the building and it will probably sit vacant for years as the city denies one development plan after the next.  Look at the wonderful “opportunity” where the coliseum used to be.

On another note, I wonder how the journalists feel about opening up the newsroom—especially the court and crime reporters.  That should be interesting.

posted by: Ben Berkowitz on January 11, 2012  12:07pm

Anyone else see the irony in all the negative comments posted on the New Haven Independent, an online only news source, about the Register moving more and more towards digital?

posted by: Matt DeRienzo on January 11, 2012  3:42pm

Sorry for the delay in checking in here ...

To answer some of the questions below:

- At least in the past year, we have added reporters, not reduced.

- The hard-to-decipher note on the Hartford Courant site you are speaking about was referring to the way they manage home delivery contractors. Has nothing to do with New Haven or printing.

- This won’t affect home delivery or single copy sales or the print edition of the New Haven Register as we know it, at all.

- Deadlines for our print edition won’t change at all.

- I’m assuming it was meant as humor, but no, reporters won’t have to be baristas ... If we have a coffee shop element, it would be done in partnership with a restaurant-type vendor.

- A Newsroom Cafe is just as it sounds. Check out RegisterCitizen.Com/newsroomcafe

- I’m not sure, but pretty confident that the Hartford Courant’s pressroom is union.

- In terms of opening up the commercial space on Long Wharf, up to interpretation, I guess, but we don’t need 200,000 square feet for our operation. The building and site have been far too large for us for years. In contrast, New Haven Independent does incredible work covering the city of New Haven, and it’s office for all employees is about 1/4 the size of our publisher’s personal office.

- In terms of how the reporters feel about an open newsroom concept, feel free to ask them!

Matt DeRienzo
Group Editor, New Haven Register
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 11, 2012  9:44pm

Matt DeRienzo: Thank you for filling us with some inside information, which is giving us some facts—to make us realize that the New Haven Register is another victim of our bad economy.

posted by: Ben Berkowitz on January 11, 2012  11:27pm


You lend credibility to telling it like it is and being open with your critics. 
JRC’s acceptance of the changing local news landscape will likely land the pieces of the entity that still create value in good company with the Paul Basses of the world.

Not many giants are humble enough to disrupt themselves before leaner sorts do. Kudos.

posted by: Alex on January 12, 2012  7:20am

Now if the online Register will stop with the drop behind ads and the ads that jump onto the screen totally unwelcome. They are not very good at online publishing.

Paul Bass should be congratulated for having the vision to be way first with a New Haven online “newapaper.”

posted by: Matt DeRienzo on January 12, 2012  8:45am

Alex, as of January 1, the two most obnoxious ad formats on the New Haven Register’s website were eliminated, the large “popunder” ad that suggested other headlines and videos, and “popup” ads that carried national advertisements. While we are pushing hard to build a digital revenue base that pays for our local journalism, it was clear to us that the balance had tipped badly in the direction of an unacceptable user experience.

posted by: Former Employee on January 12, 2012  6:08pm

I’m a former employee and they have been squeezing the company dry for the last 10 years. Just this past year, they have outsourced most of the graphics overseas and moved their business office to Michigan.

Fired Jack Kramer?

Good corporate citizen…don’t think so. My dad and uncle also worked at the Register and I do understand the economy…but the Connecticut Post is thriving and keeps jobs in Bridgeport,,,

Ben….why are you so kind to them?