Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Upset at Layoffs, City Council Mulls Pulling Ads from 'Long Beach Press-Telegram'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Upset at Layoffs, City Council Mulls Pulling Ads from 'Long Beach Press-Telegram'

Article excerpt

Long Beach, Calif., City Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga wants her old Press-Telegram back.

"Historically, Long Beach has always prided itself in having its own home town newspaper," she said by telephone. "Even tough the Press-Telegram was regional, Long Beach was the big fish. And we also had the Los Angeles Times here with a Long Beach bureau, so we really had some good competition for news in Long Beach, and we thought that was a good thing."

"But now, we are kind of able to see the demise of the Long Beach Press-Telegram," she added. "I can't say it any other way -- it's getting thinner and thinner."

What most upset her, though, was MediaNews Group's decision to move the P-T's copy and design desks to its sibling The Daily Breeze in Torrance. As part of that move, P-T Publisher Dave Kuta and Managing Editor were fired and replaced by their counterparts at the Daily Breeze. Another eight newsroom employees are expected to lose their jobs in the reorganization.

So Councilwoman Reyes Uranga is raising the possibility of having the city protest those cuts by pulling its legal notices and events advertising from the newspaper.

"We spend a couple of hundred thousand a year because we're mandated (to advertise) public hearings, and we also spend a lot advertising for our community functions," she said. "So what I want to say is, from a taxpayer's point of view, what are we getting for our money?"

At a City Council meeting attended by some 50 current and former P-T unionized employees, Reyes Uranga proposed a motion asking the city manager to compile a report on how much Long Beach spends for ads in the P-T, and what its spending has been historically. The proposal passed unanimously.

P-T Executive Editor Rich Archbold said at the meeting pulling ads would be just one more blow to the paper.

"As I said at the meeting, I think it's a terrible idea," he told E&P. "It just means there's more revenue they're going to take from the resources we have to do our job."

Archbold said that he's as unhappy about anyone about the cuts, but that they can't be avoided given the California economy with its deep housing slump and the newspaper industry's woes.

"I simply told everybody in the audience, and the City Council, that the Press-Telegram is here to stay," Archbold said. …

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