The San Antonio Express-News laid off 14 newsroom employees Wednesday and Thursday as parent company Hearst Corp. coordinates the operations of its newspapers throughout Texas.
Publisher Susan Pape attributed the layoffs to “economic factors” and a desire to combine the company’s resources across the state. She said the paper remains profitable.
The layoffs were spread across the newsroom affecting writers, editors and photographers on the sports, metro, features and photo teams.
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Nancy Barnes, the executive editor for Hearst Texas Newspapers and the Houston Chronicle, told the Express-News staff in an hour-long meeting that the company wants to maximize collaboration between newsrooms. In addition to San Antonio and Houston, Hearst’s Texas holdings include daily newspapers in Beaumont, Laredo and Midland.
Barnes said the Express-News will continue to focus on local news, but that the San Antonio and Houston newsrooms will combine efforts on coverage of statewide issues such as energy and immigration, and on certain coverage areas including college sports.
As part of the process, the Washington, D.C. bureau and the Austin bureau of both newspapers are being combined. Two employees of the Houston Chronicle’s Austin bureau were laid off Wednesday. The 14 positions lost at the Express-News included one reporter in the Austin bureau.
Hearst is also conducting a national search for a new editor-in-chief for the Express-News.
Mike Leary, who was the editor of the paper since August 2012, retired May 18.
Managing Editor Jamie Stockwell left the Express-News this week to join the New York Times as its deputy national editor in June.
Vernon Loeb, managing editor of the Houston Chronicle, is leading the newsroom in San Antonio until a permanent editor is named.
Metro editor Nora Lopez told the staff in a newsroom meeting Thursday, “We are still the largest newsroom in this city. We still own this city. It’s our city. And it’s up to us to make the choices to continue to serve our community the best that we can.”