More than 300 laid off as giant of N.J. news biz reorganizes
The media company Advance Publications is eliminating 306 employees at its news outlets, including the Newark Star-Ledger, Times of Trenton and NJ.com.
The Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, is slashing 167 positions, including dozens in the newsroom.
The cuts follow Advance's announcement that it is creating a new web-focused company, which will consolidate employees at the Star-Ledger, NJ.com and its other publications in hopes of creating a better online product.
Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the nonprofit Poynter Institute, said the owners are taking a risk by assuming that digital ad sales will grow rapidly enough to sustain a business.
"Digital advertising is fairly slow to come. The rates tend to be going down rather than up, and there's so many different places people can buy ads," he said. "I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I think it's probably a little early to be making the moves that Advance is making."
Edmonds also said he is concerned about the impact of layoffs on watchdog reporting in New Jersey.
The changes also affect the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. and South Jersey Times. Advance created the latter paper in 2012, by merging three smaller ones, including the Gloucester County Times.
Since 2008, the Star-Ledger has gone through several waves of buyouts and layoffs.
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