Mesa Tribune joins Arizona Republic with changes, staff cuts

[Source: Lynn Ducey, Phoenix Business Journal] — The Phoenix-area media environment continues to change with the announcement that a long-standing daily newspaper will become a free publication.  On Monday, The East Valley Tribune announced that it will cut 142 staff positions, move to a free four-day-a-week print publication, and shutter both its Tempe and Scottsdale offices.  The reductions comprise about 40% of its entire staff, with many cuts to be in the editorial department. Reporters, photographers, copy designers, and others were among those affected.

The company made the announcement Monday, but employees have about three months until the cuts take affect in the new year.  That also is when the new product will make its debut.  Executives said the aim is to focus the print edition on the towns of Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, and Mesa. Reporters will continue to produce content for the Tribune’s Web site seven days a week.

Meanwhile, The Arizona Republic debuted a redesigned print product in recent days and earlier this summer revamped its Web site.  The Republic’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., also recently announced some restructuring in its newspaper operations, and in August announced it was eliminating 1,000 positions companywide.  

The East Valley Tribune is owned by Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom Communications.  The company owns 33 dailies and 77 weekly newspapers including The Orange County Register and The Daily News Sun in Sun City.  [Note: The year-over-year drop in paid circulation among several metro Phoenix newspapers was highlighted in this blog entry.]

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