Layoffs today at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville have reduced its photo staff to just two staff photographers for a daily newspaper in one of the largest cities in Florida.
Director of Photography Dede Smith and photographer Bob Mack were let go along with others in the newsroom as part of a restructuring by GateHouse Media, a holding company that bought the Times-Union from Morris Communications late last year.
Mack has worked at the Times-Union for 27 years and has been a photojournalist for more than 44 years.
“I will miss all of the good days and even some of the bad ones,” Mack said.
Mack chose to work out the rest of his last day, going out to cover practice for the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. He didn’t consider skipping the assignment.
“That’s not the way I work,” Mack said.
Once employing about 15 photographers including offices in Georgia and Gainesville, Florida, the Times-Union photo staff was down to five people the end of last year before Bruce Lipsky retired. Now, Will Dickey and Bob Self are the only remaining photographers and there are no photo editors. The newspaper’s graphic artist Steve Nelson who had been at the paper more than 40 years was also let go.
The Times-Union, on its website, announced that it had cut 10 percent of its non-production workforce, amounting to about two dozen positions. Some of those cuts were realized through attrition or transfer. About 10 people were told on Thursday their jobs were eliminated. The newspaper will also cut about 50 production jobs by outsourcing its printing operations.
GateHouse Media has been buying newspaper groups and then using buyouts and layoffs to cut staff in aggressive cost-cutting measures. The Times-Union was purchased by Gatehouse last October along with 10 other newspapers for $120 million.