The Santa Fe New Mexican on Tuesday announced nearly a dozen layoffs, plus salary reductions and shortened workweeks as the newspaper navigates through the economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Publisher Tom Cross said.
The newspaper will continue to publish seven days a week, and also will continue its commercial printing operations. The New Mexican’s printing plant on the city’s south side also produces a variety of other newspapers, including the New York Times.
The family-owned New Mexican has been in business since 1849 and has continued to thrive into the 21st century as many larger dailies and small-town papers have folded.
“Obviously, all this is unprecedented,” Cross said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has slowed business in New Mexico and throughout the country.
The New Mexican, like other newspaper and media outlets, is defined as an essential service under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recent stay-at-home order intended to limit interaction that could inflame the spread of the respiratory disease.
Cross said Tuesday’s announcement is intended to keep the newspaper, its website and other operations as healthy as possible for both the short and long term.
“We will continue to print our newspaper with the same eye toward quality, and we’ll continue to work to make our product as relevant as possible to our current customers and new subscribers,” he said. “As the economy improves, we hope to restore hours, positions and wages back to their pre-COVID-19 level.”
Retail and display advertising is a key component of most newspapers’ revenue, Cross said. “That has seen a significant slowdown, so it’s our plan to reduce expenses as we wait for the economy to improve.”
New Mexican managers will see reduced salaries and staff will have reductions in hours worked.
“The news, of course, is heartbreaking for our colleagues, who are being hurt through no fault of their own,” Cross said.