Updated 5/13/18: The new owners of Ogden’s Standard-Examiner announced significant layoffs on Thursday — the latest cutbacks rocking Utah’s media landscape.
A combination of consolidation, declining circulation and ad sales have caused upheaval in the industry for some time, but regional papers have been hit especially hard.
Ogden Newspapers, the parent company of the Standard-Examiner, announced it was shedding 21 positions from its Northern Utah paper, including five in the newsroom.
The Standard-Examiner’s executive editor Greg Halling confirmed he was one of those fired. Four others were let go and three open positions will remain unfilled. Publisher Brandon Erlacher was also laid off. That leaves fewer than 20 news staff.
The clock my father built for me. It was the last thing I removed from the walls in my office today at the @standardex, and it will be the first thing I put up wherever I land next. #becausejournalism pic.twitter.com/DrlxUhusAc
— (((Greg Halling))) (@ghalling) May 10, 2018
Too many good people get laid off from newspapers in order to save money. I was once a casualty. So if you value the work your local newspaper does and you have the means, then subscribe. Don't withhold your support just because you can.
— Ryan Comer (@RyanComerSe) May 10, 2018
Following the news, several reporters at the paper shared messages of support via Twitter.
Today is a sad day for Ogden and Northern Utah. Ogden Newspapers Inc., @standardex's new owner, has laid off one photographer, two reporters and two editors as part of their restructuring process.
— Sergio Martínez-Beltrán (@SergioMarBel) May 10, 2018
It comes on the heels of similar news from the Salt Lake Tribune, which announced it would be cutting an unspecified number of positions and shrink its print edition.
The West Virgina-based Ogden Newspapers Inc. purchased the Standard-Examiner last month. They also own two Utah County papers, including The Daily Herald in Provo.
In a statement issued Saturday, Michael Christman, regional publisher for Ogden Newspapers of Utah, said the layoffs would allow the newspaper to "better focus its mission on true community journalism" and "free up" reporters.
"The Ogden Newspapers is committed to providing a strong community newspaper to the residents of greater Weber County, and to providing great coverage on the important issues affecting our community," Christman said in a statement. "We are very confident with the direction we intend to take The Standard-Examiner — and that direction is focusing on how life is lived in this region."
This story has been updated from a previous version with new layoff totals and a statement from Ogden Newspapers.