ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s newspaper now has fewer people working to give you the news.
On Monday, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises announced it plans to lay off nine people at The Roanoke Times, according to the Timesland News Guild, the newsroom’s union.
The cuts being imposed will reduce the newsroom to a staff of 37, down from 46 reporters, photographers, copy editors, editors and other professionals.
Lee Enterprises plans to eliminate four reporters, one digital editor, one copyeditor and three editorial assistants, according to the union.
Earlier this year, The Roanoke Times in downtown Roanoke was listed for more than $6 million.
10 News received the following statement from Lee Enterprises regarding the layoffs:
A a matter of policy, the company does not comment on staffing of local enterprises.Charles Arms, Lee Enterprises Corporate Communications Manager
Some of those laid off have announced it via Twitter.
One of the staff members who was laid off was Virginia Tech football beat reporter Michael Niziolek:
Not sure what's next, I would say a trip to the ABC store is in the immediate future, after that we'll see, thanks for all the Virginia Tech fans that have followed my coverage, I hope I can find an outlet that will run the last part of my Christian Darrisaw series— michaelniziolek (@michaelniziolek) April 12, 2021
And the funny thing is, we just signed a union contract that the @roanoketimes completely ignored! I thought I read it wrong since they told me as much when I brought it up, but nope plain as day, they completely ignored the layoff section— michaelniziolek (@michaelniziolek) April 12, 2021
Another was K-12 education reporter Claire Mitzel:
I was laid off this morning from @roanoketimes. As were several of my colleagues.— Claire Mitzel (@c_mitzel) April 12, 2021
It was such an honor to work for my hometown newspaper for a year. I'm mad and sad — not for myself, but because the community deserves better than this.
Don't know what's next, but I so appreciate the outpouring of support I've already received.— Claire Mitzel (@c_mitzel) April 12, 2021
I love Roanoke and don't particularly want to leave SWVA, so I may take a detour into something other than journalism for a while. Or maybe I'll keep writing. We'll see!
Another was Virginia Tech and education reporter Henri Gendreau:
Layoffs take effect April 26, but those affected are told not to work and cannot access company email.— henri gendreau (@henrigendreau) April 12, 2021
Volunteers for layoffs may change who is eventually let go, but won't change the horrific effect this will have on local journalism.