Latest Layoffs at Arizona Republic Claim Four in Newsroom

A new round of layoffs at the Arizona Republic is smaller than the bloodbaths of a few years ago — not that it's much consolation to the departed.

The state's largest newspaper let go of four people from the newsroom today, the top editor and news vice-president, Nicole Carroll, announced in a memo this morning.

"It's always difficult to say goodbye to our colleagues," Carroll wrote in the memo, which found its way to the Phoenix New Times. "We are thankful for their work on behalf of this newsroom and our community."

Carroll wrote that she wouldn't name the employees "out of respect for their privacy."

But here's the unofficial list, according to insiders:

Tom Blodgett — a 30-year employee of Republic Media, Blodgett has covered numerous beats including sports and news. He was most recently assigned as a "content specialist" who edited the work of outside contributors and found experts "to answer reader questions."

Ron Dungan — a travel and outdoors reporter who's worked for the newspaper since at least 2005.

Deb Van Tassel — an editor and front-page planner since 2013, and wife of New Times editor Stuart Warner, who left the Republic in January. The veteran editor had worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects at other newspapers before she came to Arizona.

Jessica Ramirez, a newsroom assistant.

The Arizona Republic, a Gannett company which also runs, offered buyouts to veteran employees in 2015.

The year before, Gannett announced it was splitting off its newspaper operations from its broadcast and internet side. A couple of months after that, the Republic began a Hunger Games-esque exercise in which employees were forced to reapply for their own jobs. Those who didn't get re-hired were laid off.

Even those actions didn't compare to layoffs between 2008 and 2013, though, during which dozens of journalists were told to hit the streets. Unpaid furloughs of employees also became a favored way to save money at the paper.

Like other newspapers across the country, the Arizona Republic and Gannett were weakened by the Great Recession and have been struggling for years with declining advertising revenue.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.