As foreshadowed in its quarterly earnings report and call last week, Chicago-based Tribune Publishing has moved to shrink its real estate costs.
The company is shuttering five of its newsrooms, at the New York Daily News; the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland; the Carroll County Times in Maryland; the Orlando Sentinel in Florida; and The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The papers will go on publishing, the company said. Staff were informed they will be laboring at home until January 2021 at the earliest, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“As we progress through the pandemic and as needs change, we will reconsider our need for physical offices,” a company spokesperson, Max Reinsdorf, said by email, the Tribune reported Aug. 12. “We will keep employees informed of decisions as they are made.”
In a June filing with the SEC, Tribune Publishing said it had held back three months of rent for “a majority of its facilities and requested rent relief from the lessors in various forms,” including the ending of leases, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
CNN media reporter Kerry Flynn writes: “It's no surprise to see Tribune cut real estate costs. During the company's earnings call last week, CFO Mike Lavey said 'reducing our real estate footprint' was among the priorities to 'sustain ourselves for the long term.' Gannett CEO Mike Reed made similar remarks in its earnings call last week, noting that the company planned 'to sell $100 million to $125 million of property by the end of 2021.’”
In February, Tribune Publishing sold The Virginian-Pilot's Norfolk office building and the paper moved its operations to the Daily Press in Newport News.
In 2017, Tribune Publishing bought the New York Daily News for $1 from media and real estate mogul Mortimer B. Zuckerman.
Maryland’s Capital Gazette was the site of a 2018 shooting in which a gunman killed five employees.
Sacramento-based McClatchy, meanwhile, is also making changes. It's exiting leases on seven newsrooms as it works to move out of bankruptcy, with spots in California, South Carolina, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte involved, Poynter reported.
McClatchy is selling its Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky) building as well. The Fayette County Board of Education voted in June to buy the building for $7.5 million, Lex 18 reported.
Advance Publications’ Staten Island Advance is selling its building, Poynter also pointed out.