Digital First Media Workers


I am ashamed: Veteran reporter slams a major news chain’s failure to cover Charlottesville

Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to Digital First Media’s Philadelphia-area publisher Edward Condra from Evan Brandt, an award-winning reporter from the Pottstown (Pennsylvania)  Mercury. It has been slightly shortened from the original version.


From: Evan Brandt
Date: 8/13/17 2:03 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Edward Condra
Subject: I am ashamed ….

… to look at our front pages today.

Ed, you once chided me for venting on Facebook about our failures and poor judgement as a company and said I should give you a chance to fix it first.

This is it.

As you may know, certainly not from reading any of our papers or visiting most of our web sites, there was a major incident in Charlottesville Virginia that an entire nation is talking about.

There is no morning mention of it anywhere on the front pages of the majority of DFM’s proud properties.

Continue reading “I am ashamed: Veteran reporter slams a major news chain’s failure to cover Charlottesville”

DFM papers hit with (yes, more) layoffs

East Bay Times Pulitzer winners (California).

Last-minute layoffs target long-time workers, hit newsrooms hard

OAKLAND — More news workers have been laid off at Digital First Media newspapers as the company approaches its new fiscal year on July 1.
The layoffs appear to be targeting long-time newsroom employees as well as management in the newspapers’ human resources departments.
After three people in an already bare-bones newsroom were given two weeks’ notice at The Monterey Herald, five more California news workers were let go this week from the Bay Area News Group (BANG), which includes the East Bay Times (Oakland) and the Mercury News (San Jose). Four of the five were women.
The news hit BANG employees hard as they were still reeling from last month’s copy desk layoffs that followed a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland.

Continue reading “DFM papers hit with (yes, more) layoffs”

More awards, more layoffs

Better days: Herald employees on World Press Freedom Day, May 3.

UPDATE: At least two other DFM papers laid off workers this week: the Denver Post announced the layoffs of four Guild-covered employees and at least two managers in inside circulation, while the East Bay Times — whose staff was recently hit with layoffs days after winning the Pulitzer Prize — has laid off two advertising employees.

MONTEREY — The Monterey Herald laid off three news workers Wednesday, leaving an already minimally staffed newsroom stripped to bare bones.

The layoffs come just weeks after The Herald’s staff won five awards and two honorable mentions from the California News Publishers Association for environmental and business reporting, writing, photo illustration and best front pages.

The workers — two longtime newsroom employees and the paper’s obituary clerk — were given two weeks’ notice.

Continue reading “More awards, more layoffs”

Keeping democracy alive in a rust belt town


Evan Brandt’s calling

“When I miss a meeting, these days most often due to a threadbare staff, officials literally say ‘The Mercury’s not here, what should we get done?’” —Evan Brandt, reporter at the Pottstown (Pa.) Mercury


November will mark the 20 years since Evan Brandt came to Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

It was November, 1997 when he was hired as a reporter for The Mercury, the smallest circulation daily ever to win two Pulitzer Prizes.

Both Pulitzers were awarded long before Brandt arrived in this economically hobbled rust belt town on the banks of the Schuylkill River, but it does indicate the quality and initiative of the newsroom he joined — at least at the time.

Continue reading “Keeping democracy alive in a rust belt town”

Why we fight

Staff at The Trentonian (New Jersey).


In my first week at a new reporting job in 2004, I received a shock while covering a city council meeting in Pacific Grove, California. The city was unveiling a proposed low-income housing plan. The stunning part came when I realized I actually qualified under the salary my newspaper was paying me. I, a college-educated professional working full time, was officially “low income.”

Things haven’t gotten any better for my colleagues in the news business.

A new report by an online rental listing service says that as journalists’ wages have fallen, rents have “increased steadily.” The report, published in the “Rentonomics” section of, looked at 10 years of Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census data, from 2005-2015.

Continue reading “Why we fight”

When hedge funds own newspapers…


In case you missed it, read The Price of a Pulitzer.

A mosaic of solidarity for Press Freedom

Denver Post Newsroom Unit (Colorado).

NewsGuild units representing 1,500 news workers across the country marked May 3, World Press Freedom Day, with coordinated actions between Digital First Media and Gatehouse Media union members. The actions, which included rallies and displaying desk tent signs and banners, aimed to raise awareness of the growing threat that “vulture” hedge funds pose for the nation’s community newspapers. Union leaders say the newspaper owners’ excessive profiteering threatens journalism at a critical time of politicized attacks on the news media.

Continue reading “A mosaic of solidarity for Press Freedom”

Guild workers at Digital First Media and GateHouse Media stand together against profiteering owners on World Press Freedom Day, May 3


APRIL 28, 2017

(202) 434-7175

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2017) — A broad coalition of 1,500 unionized news workers will conduct a joint day of action on May 3 — World Press Freedom Day — as part of a national campaign to protest the corporate-led assault on quality journalism.

The coordinated effort by NewsGuild members will span 29 newspapers owned by GateHouse Media and Digital First Media. It will support the fight for quality journalism at those papers and highlight the damage wrought by draconian cuts in their newsrooms and other departments. Continue reading “Guild workers at Digital First Media and GateHouse Media stand together against profiteering owners on World Press Freedom Day, May 3”

The price of a Pulitzer

Digital First Media rewards prize-winning work with layoffs

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — Digital First Media, owner of the Bay Area News Group, plans to move copy desk work to Southern California, triggering 20 more layoffs from a shrunken roster of 92 Guild-represented employees in the East Bay.

The announcement came only a week after the East Bay news staff was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for “relentless” breaking news coverage of the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland.

Continue reading “The price of a Pulitzer”

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