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More Newsroom Staff Take Buyouts At Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lucy Perkins
90.5 WESA

Fourteen employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will leave the newspaper in the latest round of company buyouts, though that number falls far short of the company’s goal. According to the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, a union which represents more than 100 employees, most people who took buyouts will be leaving by the end of the week. The group includes both veteran reporters and relative newcomers to the Pulitzer-prize winning paper.

“It runs the full gamut of the newsroom,” said union president Mike Fuoco. “The Guild is incredibly saddened to see all of them go. The loss of talent, institutional knowledge and potential is devastating.”

Paula Reed Ward, the paper’s courts reporter for 17 years, confirmed her departure to WESA. Others have announced their exits publicly, including columnist Brian O’Neill, features editor Sharon Eberson, digital editor Matt Moret, and Washington bureau chief Tracie Mauriello.

“I have no profound words, only mixed feelings of loss and freedom,” tweeted Mauriello, who took a buyout after completing a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Photojournalist Michael Santiago is also among those leaving, and announced this week he will be joining the photo staff at Getty Images. In his final weeks at the paper, Santiago was one of two Black journalists barred from covering anti-racism and police brutality protests over editors' concerns about their objectivity. The Guild demanded that both journalists be allowed to cover the protests. The union also asked executive editor Keith Burris and managing editor Karen Kane to apologize for the decision.

"I love the PG, I love Pittsburgh, but I'm leaving both because Keith Burris and Karen Kane can't find the strength to even BS an apology," tweeted Moret. "My time here has pretty much been defined by contract disputes and managerial breaches of journalistic ethics/common decency."

It’s unclear if and how the paper plans to eliminate 10 more positions to meet its goal of 24 buyouts. A spokesperson for the paper did not respond to a request for comment.

“The Post-Gazette is further tarnishing its legacy by instituting this measure to shrink an already shrunken newsroom, thereby harming local journalism,” Fuoco said.