Bay Area News Group to reduce staff, implement layoffs

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The Bay Area News Group, which publishes the Mercury News and East Bay Times, “informed staff on Friday that buyouts and ‘involuntary terminations’ were on the way,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Climate Online has learned from multiple sources that buyouts were offered to roughly a quarter of the BANG staff. Those who received buyout offers each have more than 25 years of experience. And beyond those offers, additional layoffs are expected.

Among those outgoing as part of the buyouts is Barbara Marshman, editor of The Mercury News’ Editorial Pages since 2008, who announced in an email to colleagues she will leave the paper at the end of January after more than 20 years.

BANG executive editor Neil Chase confirmed to the Times that declining revenue is causing the cutbacks.

“It’s not limited to certain topics [or] sections, and we didn’t lay out specific numbers,” Chase told the Times.

It is unknown whether the cutbacks will impact coverage of Redwood City and surrounding communities.

“As media outlets continue to consolidate and streamline, the need for local, independent community news has never been greater,” said Adam Alberti, publisher of Climate Magazine and Climate Online.

Alberti adds that “a possible decline in coverage could not come at a worse time, particularly given the current political climate and significant changes and issues facing the Peninsula. Now more than ever, we need as many journalists out there as possible unearthing facts and keeping local residents informed about their communities.”

The re-launch of Climate Magazine, as well as the launch of Climate Online, an online portal for local daily news in Redwood City and beyond, is a response to the area’s declining news coverage, Alberti said.

“Our aim is to help fill the void,” he said, conceding, “it’s going to be difficult to fill the shoes of the many great journalists who have departed our community in the last two decades.”

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