Jim Ripley, the Trib's executive editor, will reportedly retire in January.
By Ray Stern
The layoffs at the East Valley Tribune went deep, affecting some of the most prominent bylines at the paper, sources say.
The most notable: Executive Editor Jim Ripley announced he will retire in January, the month most of the laid-off staff will be dismissed from the job.
Forty-six of the 142 to be let go came from the editorial department, and many of these were the paper's most experienced editors, reporters, photographers and graphic-design employees, including:
* Editors Patti Epler and Bob Satnan. * Features funnyman Mike Grady and movie critic Craig Outhier. * Photo editor Brad Armstrong and photographers Ralph Freso, Julio Jimenez and Paul O'Neill. * News graphics team members Scott Kirchhofer and Gabriel Utasi. * Web site director Chris Lavelle. * Veteran religion reporter Lawn Griffiths. * Sportswriters Mike Tulumello and Craig Morgan. * Reporters Paul Giblin, Nick Martin, Jason Massad, Tony Natale, Mary K. Reinhart and Dennis Welch.
The fired folks will all get to stay until the actual D-Day in January, sources say. The Trib wanted to give people a three-month window in which to find a new job -- and to keep them motivated during their waning days, they'll also be getting a severance package worth two weeks' salary for each year of employment.
Beyond the individual pain layoffs like these inflict, the Trib's restructuring means two cities, Scottsdale and Tempe, lose the local newspaper they've had for decades.
Scottsdale had the Scottsdale Progress since 1948, and the ancient Tempe Daily News had been published in some form since 1887. Both were both purchased years ago by Cox Newspapers, formerly a parent corporation of the East Valley Tribune. Some believed the progenitor papers all but died after they were absorbed into the Mesa-centric Tribune , which put fewer resources into covering these cities. But there's no mistaking it now: The old papers are truly history.
Not only will home subscription stop in these cities, but sources confirmed the Trib won't even cover issues in these communities anymore.
"It's really hard to take," says Steve Wilson, former Progress editor, now communications director for the state Attorney General's office. "For a city of [Sottsdale's] size to be without its own newspaper -- it's a real sign of the times."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.