Five photographers will be laid off from the Northwest Arkansas Newspapers (NAN), with other cuts likely.
Almost three years ago, Stephens Media and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Inc. merged operations in Northwest Arkansas and created NAN. With the merger failing to end financial losses for both newspapers, the group hired New York-based CRG Partners — an advisory and interim management firm — earlier this year to assess all aspects of the newspapers’ operations.
Jeff Jeffus, president of NAN, told The City Wire in May that CRG was tasked to find ways to increase efficiency and grow revenue.
On Friday (Aug. 3), Jeffus told employees in a memo that the merged “operating alliance” created Nov. 1, 2009, has yet to turn a profit.
“We didn’t anticipate the severity or duration of the economic recession we were in,” Jeffus wrote in the memo.
As of May 24, NAN employed roughly 415 people in Northwest Arkansas, 100 of which are part-timers working in production and the mail room. In the Friday memo, Jeffus said NAN has 409 employees, including 304 that are full time. The company also has 300 contracted newspaper carriers.
The photography job cuts will probably followed with other layoffs.
“While we continue to evaluate all areas for efficiency, the changes we are announcing today are limited to the photo staffs,” Jeffus wrote in the memo.
Since the merger was complete in 2009, subscribers have received The Morning News and the Northwest Arkansas edition of the Democrat-Gazette in Springdale, Rogers and some outlying areas; subscribers in Fayetteville receive the Northwest Arkansas Times with the Democrat-Gazette; and subscribers in Bentonville get the Benton County Daily Record with the Democrat-Gazette. NAN also publishes several weekly newspapers throughout the region.
Stephens Media has the say over content of all publications except the Northwest edition of Democrat-Gazette, which operates under the statewide newspaper. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette also controls all advertising, business, production and circulation operations for all the merged publications.