“We regret the steps we had to take today,” Fogler told his paper. “We greatly appreciate the contributions these employees have made to the Free Press.”
The story, penned by “Free Press Staff,” noted that, “For the better part of the past decade, the media industry has been in a state of continuous transformation as technology and consumer behaviors have altered reader and advertiser patterns.”
Fogler was also quoted saying that as the paper has “retool[ed]” its business, it has “responded with innovation and investment to serve an ever-increasing number of digital consumers.”
In March 2012, the paper’s Sunday circulation was 37,399 and its weekday circulation was 29,890, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. A year later, weekend circulation had dropped to 31,177, while the weekday figure dropped to 25,995.
As its print properties falter, Gannett appears to be moving away from newspapers and toward the more profitable broadcasting business. In June, the company announced it would double its television station holdings by buying Belo Corp. for $1.5 billion.
Closer to home, St. Michael's College journalism professor David Mindich bemoaned the layoffs at the Free Press, saying, “It’s just really sad.”
Mindich, who got to know Murray and Kilty when they studied at St. Mike's, called them “star students” in the school’s journalism department and “two of the best students to graduate from the college in years.”
“It’s important that we continue to have a robust press, and the only way to do that is to have a lot of good people out there,” he said. “Cutting reporters, by definition, cuts the quality of a news operation.”
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