Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal lay off editorial staff

Tom D'Errico Michelle Karas

Tom D’Errico and Michelle Karas in front of the Brattleboro Reformer office. Photo by Kayla Rice/Brattleboro Reformer

New England Newspapers Inc., has laid off 10 editorial employees in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Five newsroom employees in Vermont were handed pink slips on Friday.

No formal announcement has been made by the newspaper chain, which includes the Brattleboro Reformer, the Bennington Banner, the Manchester Journal and the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The company laid off three newsroom staffers at the Reformer. Tom D’Errico, the manager of content marketing, Mike Faher, senior reporter, and Pat Smith, the newsroom clerk, were given notice on Friday. On June 12, Michelle Karas, the managing editor of the Reformer and the Banner left earlier to take a job at The Colorado Springs Gazette. The Banner laid off newly hired reporter Jacob Colone, and the Journal let go of Brandon Canevari.

That leaves skeleton crews at all three newspapers. Andrew McKeever, the editor of the Journal, has no reporter on staff. There will be just two reporters at the Reformer, Dominic Poli and Howard Weiss-Tisman, as reporter Chris Mays has been dispatched to the Banner where he will work with Keith Whitcomb and Derek Carson.

Kevin Moran, the regional vice president of the New England Newspapers, was not immediately available for comment.

The Reformer building is listed for sale.

New England Newspapers is part of the troubled Digital First Media newspaper chain, which owns newspapers in 15 states, including The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News, New Haven Register and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Apollo Global Management, a hedge fund, was poised to purchase the company in the spring, but backed out. Not long after, John Paton, the CEO of DFM, stepped down, according to Jim Romensko, a newspaper industry reporter. In recent weeks, Digital First sold off properties in New Mexico and Texas to Gannett, according to the Poynter Institute blog.

On Friday, The Saratogian and the Troy Reporter in New York announced layoffs and voluntary buyouts for 11 editorial staffers.

Anne Galloway

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15 Comments on "Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal lay off editorial staff"


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Kyle Martel
1 year 6 months ago

Sad to see Mike Faher go. Always thought he did some solid writing down there.

1 year 6 months ago

Another sad step in the advancing demise of the small town newspaper.
Ironically, this is exactly why VTDigger is so crucially important to the practice of journalism in Vermont.

rosemarie jackowski
1 year 6 months ago

This is a sad and tragic end to an era. When the local newspaper goes, and the local school is gone what is there left?

Ed Letourneau
1 year 6 months ago

There isn’t lot left in Bennington after the punishing town taxes and fees. And no one wants read about that.

Frank Lambert
1 year 6 months ago
This has been happening all across the nation for a number of years. Not only are local newspapers reducing their staff, but gone are the days when they were actually sending staff writers and reporters on location to cover the events as they happened, but now rely mainly on news bulletins from the AP, Reuters, and a few larger conglomerates rather than from their local staff. The Herald, in Monterey, California was sold about a year and a half ago, and has gone through similar “business changes” as the Brattleboro Reformer, with many people canceling their subscriptions. Royal Caulkins, the… Read more »
Frank Lambert
1 year 6 months ago

Forgive my lack of tech skills. I should have typed in: for the correct link.

Paul Guillotte
1 year 6 months ago

They’re melting…..yes the beginning of the end. Cutbacks and reductions. A paper without proper coverage can not survive. The public has no time for corporate adjustments with a weak recovery plan. The place mark newspaper is a thing of the past let it die with honor!!!!

Paul Guillotte
1 year 6 months ago

Be merciful let it die. The corporation isn’t going to support it and neither will the public. The corporation has stripped it to the bone. ‘Did we do that?’ Yes you did the public doesn’t support your actions. You’ve killed the newspapers in the northeast/ Nice job losers.

Brian Flynn
1 year 6 months ago

We are indeed fortunate that Anne Galloway had this vision.

1 year 6 months ago

Howard Weiss-Tisman, longtime reporter at the Reformer is very good. Glad he remains.

fred moss
1 year 6 months ago

Was the paper left leaning like most?

I stopped buying the BFP years ago because I did not want to contribute to the propaganda.

andew nemethy
1 year 6 months ago

Big corporate leadership of newspapers, with a few enlightened exceptions, is a failing model. But many locally owned Vermont weeklies are doing fine because they care more about reporting the news and knowing their communities and don’t need to meet corporate profit margins. Smart and committed leadership, and digital savvy, makes all the difference. There’s an opportunity – maybe as nonprofits, maybe as community owned papers – for someone to make these daily papers work. Perhaps it will be all digital, or digital and weekly. My sympathies to the reporters and staff at this dark time.

Betty Frye
1 year 6 months ago

Mike Faher was a great of the best of a long line of good reporters that came out of the Brattleboro Reformer……someone??? should hire him before He leaves the state….

Lisa Boucher
1 year 6 months ago
You got to the crux of the problem Mr. Nemethy corporate ownership and profits. When corporations started owning news organizations and demanding profit margins each quarter–away went the news. It’s not actually meant to be profitable for shareholders–which is why everything we see, hear, and read basically comes from the same sources are mass produced and sent out–it’s much cheaper than paying reporters to do a good job at the local level, corporate America doesn’t care if you’re informed about what matters–only that the stock holders get there’s. If that means closing a few dozen small paper or dumping reporters,… Read more »
Lisa Boucher
1 year 6 months ago
Sadly, people do still like to read newspapers and community newspapers in this state do thrive–if locally owned and cared for. There are long time dailies & weeklies that prove that. And they’re surviving the paradigm shift from print to electronic with both formats. The ladies who own Seven Days developed a very successful model years ago and are still going strong. And of course vtdigger is the state’s goldmine for info. Those small papers were owned by an out of state company– like the Free Press is owned by Gannet, which owns many newspapers across the country, if not… Read more »
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