On Feb. 26, Sample News Group, through its subsidiary Brunswick Publishing LLC, completed its purchase of the Times Record afternoon newspaper in Brunswick from the Niven family. The new owner promptly laid off 10 employees.
According to a story in the Forecaster weekly
paper's mid-coast edition (www.forecaster.net/story.php?storyid=13976
), those who got the ax included one reporter, a computer tech, a customer service rep, a receptionist and several advertising workers. All other Times Record staffers were required to reapply for their current jobs, but were rehired.
The cuts probably shouldn't have come as a surprise. Sample has a well-deserved reputation for frugality. As the Forecaster reported, the company made deep cuts in staff at the Journal Tribune in Biddeford and the Daily News in McKeesport, Pa., after it purchased those papers. Industry insiders have speculated that Sample is primarily interested in the Times Record's printing business, rather than the journalistic end of the operation. The company got a state-backed loan through the Finance Authority of Maine to purchase the printing operation, but did not have to offer any guarantee of maintaining current jobs to gain approval.
Speaking of journalism, Sample is showing some signs of ethical erosion in that area. A story in the Feb. 27 edition of the Times Record on the sale of the company made no mention of the layoffs.
- Filed February 29, 2008
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com .