More layoffs coming at the hedge fund-owned Pioneer Press

The newspaper's editorial department has already been decimated by cuts.
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More cuts are planned at the Pioneer Press by its hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital.

Employees were informed of the news on Thursday, with reporter Nick Woltman tweeting that 6-8 roles will be cut company-wide, with its New York-based owners seeking volunteers for buyouts.

If they don't get enough volunteers, layoffs are likely to follow, Woltman said.

Right now, it's not clear how many of those cuts will fall in the newspaper's already pared-down editorial department, with reporters and editors only told that "several" of the cuts will come from the newsroom.

We've previously reported how the Pioneer Press has lost several dozen reporters since it was bought by Alden in 2012, and as of last May had an editorial staff of just under 50, compared to around 260 during its heyday.

This is despite the hedge fund making a $10 million profit on the venerable St. Paul newspaper in 2017 – a 13 percent margin. 

NiemanLab story revealed that Alden Global Capital was running the newspapers it owns at an average profit margin of 17 percent, all the while making cuts to its editorial teams.

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Speaking to BMTN on Friday, Pioneer Press reporter Dave Orrick, who is a rep for the Minnesota Newspaper and Communications Guild, said the only reason staff were given for the latest cuts is that "the newspaper industry remains challenging."

"While that’s true, it’s bull, as far as being a justification for continued cuts," he added.

"As everyone now knows, the Pioneer Press has been highly profitable for a number of years, but our owners ... simply demand even more profits, and to hell with the company, its employees, the news, or our community, which we believe is better with a robust local newspaper."

2019 has been a bad year so far for media layoffs. In the space of just a few weeks in January, 2,100 writers, editors and other staff lost their jobs at national outlets including Vice, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post, as reported by The Cut.

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