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Trib Announces Layoffs, Consolidation Of Newspapers

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

Trib Total Media announced Tuesday that it will lay off more than 150 employees as it consolidates the Valley News Dispatch, (Greensburg) Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

President and CEO of Trib Total Media Jennifer Bertetto said 153 full- and part-time employees from among the company's 1,100-person staff will be laid off, with another 91 layoffs possible if the newspapers The Valley Independent in Monessen and The Daily News in McKeesport aren’t sold in 60 days.

Of those, only 20 positions are expected to be cut from the papers' editorial departments.

“Unfortunately, the buyouts, sales and closings of the newspapers are not the end of the personnel changes that are required for the Trib to adapt to the changing business environment,” Bertetto said in a statement. “We have been forced to further evaluate the future of our business and identify additional ways to improve the overall financial health of the company."

An additional 68 employees recently accepted buyout offers commiserate with their age and years of service; 425 were eligible.

This comes after the city’s other competing newspaper organization, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, offered 120 of its employees buyouts this past summer, citing “weak revenue.”

Trib Total Media officials said as part of the consolidation, it will decrease delivery services in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties and close its printing center in Greensburg in an effort to focus on digital platforms. 

Those digital efforts include the roll out of its new media affiliate 535 Media, which will partner with Florida-based conservative news company Newsmax Media.

Founded in 1997, Newsmax was originally funded in part by Trib founder and publisher Richard Mellon Scaife, who died last year. Scaife retained some ownership of Newsmax years. Trib Total Media officials announced Monday that the company had acquired a 40 percent share of Newsmax.

Other efforts expected to launch in 2016 include a "revitalized" website for TTM's news product, including an expanded health care section and a series of mobile-first websites.