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In a round of job cuts, Times-News lays off photographer

The owner of the Hendersonville Times-News ordered workforce reductions at its newly acquired properties in the South, according to news industry sources and employees of the Hendersonville newspaper.


New Media Investment Group Inc. laid off the employees in news, advertising and other departments at many of the 35 newspapers it bought last November from Daytona Beach-based Halifax Media. New Media, a New York-based company that emerged from the prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy of GateHouse Media in November 2013, owns 485 community and mid-sized daily newspapers and related websites and six yellow page directories.

Employees of the Times-News confirmed that New Media had laid off two part-time employees and a veteran photographer and moved an advertising sales rep into a vacant business side position. The Hendersonville Lightning was unable to reach publisher Ned Cowan for comment on the newspaper's downsizing move.

By laying off photographer Patrick Sullivan, the newspaper said farewell to a veteran shooter with more than 20 years of  experience.  Wearing trademark cargo shorts virtually year-round, the cheerful photographer could walk through a football stadium teeming with fans of all ages and hear many call him by name. He served naturally as something of an unofficial ambassador for the newspaper, and often community organizations seeking coverage would ask editors to "send Patrick." Just last week it was announced that Sullivan had won first place in general photography in the annual North Carolina Press Association contest. Having lost a full-time photographer in a round of job cuts four years ago, the daily is now down to one full-time shooter, chief photographer Mike Dirks.

The New Media layoffs received coverage Tuesday and Wednesday on websites that cover the news media. Larger newspapers with bigger staffs appeared to have suffered a proportionate loss of news personnel, according to coverage in websites and blogs that cover newsrooms.
The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., lost its chief photographer and two other photographers, a longtime sports reporter, three news reporters, an assistant metro editor and a copy editor. The Sun in Gainesville and its sister paper in a combined operation, the Ocala Star-Banner, turned out an assistant managing editor, a features editor, a photographer, a sports copy desk staffer, a news page designer, a marketing coordinator and an IT staffer. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal laid off two news page designers, two photographers and a sportswriter, according to a posting at jimromenesko.com, a website that covers the newspaper industry.

Unlike Halifax Media, New Media is publicly owned. Its stock closed Tuesday at $24.05, near its 52-week high of $25.77.