The Rutland Herald and its sister paper, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, laid off four workers this week, a sign the newspaper industry continues to struggle.
Each of the papers laid off a news assistant. The Rutland Herald also laid off an information technology worker and a clerical worker in subscriber services.
Catherine Nelson, general manager of the Mitchell family-owned papers, said Thursday the staff reductions were driven in part by an overdue consolidation of certain job functions and the economy.
Nelson said while the economy is moving in the right direction, the pace of recovery remains “extremely slow.”
“We see really kind of encouraging signs about that but we don’t believe for a minute that we’re going to have an economy that’s going to grow significantly and everybody believes that,” she said.
A major responsibility of the news assistants at the two papers was to handle obituary notices. But Nelson said that function will be transitioned to front office personnel, which is typical at most papers.
She said the IT position was no longer required because the company now outsources the printing of both papers.
The company lost its press in Barre during the flood of May 2011, resulting in several million dollars in damage.
The Rutland Herald and Times Argus together employ approximately 90 workers.
The papers are owned by the R. John Mitchell family.
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