NEWARK, NJ - Print coverage of local news in New Jersey communities took another hit on Thursday with the announcement that The Star-Ledger would be laying off 167 more employees, including more than 25 percent of its 156 newsroom employees, according to a story published on NJ.com, which will also lose employees as part of Advance Publications' massive restructuring.
This was the latest in a continual downsizing of the state's largest newspaper that began in earnest with large-scale employee buyouts in late 2008 that shrunk the newsroom staff by nearly 50 percent. In January 2013, The Star-Ledger laid off 34 employees. During union negotiations later in the year, publisher Richard Vezza threatened to cease publication of the paper unless the union relented on certain demands. Although those terms were settled in September, the paper--which has been reportedly losing more than $10 million annually for several years, and which company officials claim is on track to lose $19 million in 2014--has continued to struggle financially and to shrink in both physical size and in terms of overall content.
In April 2013, The Star-Ledger ceased publishing major league baseball box scores, which had been a staple of the sports section for generations, in an effort to save dwindling space. Elimination of other content elements have been made over the last several years, including a significant reduction in coverage of local communities, when the paper replaced its more intensive community coverage in its county sections with a more superficial daily roundup of bite-sized local news stories.
Readership of print newspapers has continued a steady decline over the last decade as more and more people have turned to the Internet as their primary source for local news and advertisers have continued to abandon buying space in daily newspapers.