Projo Raising Subscription Price While Slashing Staff, Gregg’s Status in Flux

Monday, August 22, 2016


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PHOTO: Jon S. Flckr

Last week, Providence Journal home subscribers received a letter alerting them to a hike in the cost for home delivery — a 48% increase (see rate increase letter) for some subscribers.

The rate increase letter said, “This will be reflected on your credit card statement.” SEE LETTER BELOW has received copies of confidential GateHouse documents relating to the buyout offer — See Below

At the same time, the Providence Journal has announced yet another buyout, further reducing their newsroom by an estimated 70% over the past decade. Similarly, the circulation is plummeting — in 2012 weekday circulation was reported at 78,000 and in 2016 dropped to a reported 58,000 — a 25% drop in just three full years.

Depleted and Chaotic Newsroom

There is chaos in the newsroom with the uncertainty surrounding longtime State House Bureau Chief Katherine Gregg. The treatment of Gregg — a reporter who has been with the paper since 1979 and has been a key contributor on nearly every major story that the newspaper has broken form the Cranston Land Deal to stories of pension abuse -- has been disruptive to a unit that has faced multiple rounds of layoffs and buyouts since GateHouse purchased the paper in 2014.

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Katherine Gregg, 38 year veteran, is currently in limbo.

Much of the newsroom frustration seems to be linked to Executive Editor Dave Butler — he was the decision-maker who demoted Gregg from her longstanding position at the State House.  He took over in October of 2015 and has held leadership roles at a range of media companies around the country.

After it leaked out that Gregg was being demoted, first reported by Ian Donnis at RI public radio, Butler issued a statement to Donnis stating, “We have a top-notch Statehouse reporting crew and I am confident we will continue to cover Rhode Island government as aggressively as we have in the past -- if not more so."

Gregg has been on a month long vacation in the midst of the political season and her status is still not resolved. Obviously, she is eligible for a buyout.

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Janet Hasson

More Changes in Management

Then on Friday, the Providence Journal sent out a memo announcing that one of the top Journal executives Tom McDonough is out. The memo says, 

“TO: Journal Staff: I had planned to announce on Monday that Tom McDonough is leaving the Journal for another position, but it seems the cat is out of the bag. My apologies. 

Tom has been a wise counsel for the Journal staff and cares deeply about our success. I know you will join me in thanking him for his many years of dedicated service to the Journal team.”

The memo is signed by Janet Hasson, President and Publisher of the Providence Journal. McDonough is going to work for Roger Williams University.

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Related Slideshow: Providence Journal Buyout Documents - August, 2016


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