The economic downturn of the coronavirus outbreak is hitting the local newspaper industry.
Adams Publishing Group, which owns the Janesville Gazette, Beloit Daily News and Milton Courier, notified employees Tuesday that all salaried workers will be taking a 25 percent pay cut, and full-time hourly employees are being forced to cut back 10 hours per week.
“As we are all well aware, the economy is experiencing significant and rapidly evolving challenges for all businesses due to coronavirus, and APG is experiencing the same contraction,” CEO Mark Adams wrote in a memo to employees. “Now more than ever, it has become even more critical that we be financially and immediately responsive to those market conditions.”
Regional president Mary Jo Villa said the staffing adjustments are company-wide and intended as a short-term correction, but Adams Publishing Group does not know how long these changes will last.
She cited reductions in advertising and printing during the public health crisis.
“We need to be responsive to the rapidly changing economy and at the same time ensure our associates are safe while simultaneously providing essential news and information to the community; temporarily reducing all working hours was the best alternative,” Villa said. “Meanwhile, we are rapidly equipping personnel with technology to work from home. Our hope is we can avoid long-term furloughs and staff reductions.”
No employee benefits will be affected by the pay cuts.
Last June, Bliss Communications announced the sale of the Gazette and the Beloit Daily News to Adams Publishing Group, which later consolidated some of its Rock County locations by moving Milton Courier staff into the Gazette’s downtown Janesville location.