Gazette to outsource design of ads; 4 jobs will be lost


Published: 6/17/2018 5:45:20 PM

NORTHAMPTON — As part of a move across its parent company, Newspapers of New England, the Daily Hampshire Gazette is outsourcing its advertising design, resulting in four people losing their jobs in the newspaper’s graphics department. A fifth position, which is vacant, will remain unfilled.

A three-person design team will still be employed in the advertising department in Northampton to build magazines and special sections for newspapers across NNE.

“Change is always hard,” Michael Rifanburg, Pioneer Valley Newspapers publisher said. “We’ve had to make some difficult decisions.”

Rifanburg said Newspapers of New England reached an agreement with a division of the Virginia-based national newspaper chain Gannett to build advertisements for its print and digital advertisements for all of its newspapers. Instead of employing people in-house to build the ads, NNE will pay Gannett per ad to do the work.​​​​​​

The new arrangement, approved by NNE’s board of directors, affects the Gazette, the Greenfield Recorder, The Valley Advocate, the Amherst Bulletin and the Athol Daily News, locally, as well as the Concord Monitor in Concord, the Valley News in West Lebanon and the Monadnock-Ledger Transcript in Peterborough, all in New Hampshire.

Rifanburg said that the Gazette, like many other newspapers, is facing financial challenges, and that the company is looking to “work smarter” and offset some of them.

The difficulties he noted are tariffs on newsprint, declining printed newspaper circulation and advertising challenges.

Rifanburg said he could not say exactly how much the company will save from the outsourcing move, but that it will make the company more efficient.

He added that the move will not change how employees in other departments at the Gazette operate. The last day of work for the four laid off graphics employees will be July 20.

When asked if the move to outsource production to Gannett presaged acquisition of the newspapers by the chain, Rifanburg said no.

“We are a ... local, family-owned business,” Rifanburg said, adding that this would continue to be the case for many years to come.

Asked if other aspects of the newspapers’ operations are being considered for outsourcing, Rifanburg said that NNE continues to look for ways to work more efficiently internally and to look for partners.

In another move, NNE has invested in a new press in Concord, New Hampshire and will consolidate the printing operations of the company’s New Hampshire papers.

All printing and distribution employees at the Valley News have been offered jobs at this facility.

Rifanburg said that this would not affect the printing operation at the Gazette.

Bera Dunau can be reached

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