DURHAM, N.C. — After more than a century under the same local ownership, Paxton-Media Group took over the
earlier in January. The paper's editor sat down with WRAL to talk about the fallout and changes readers can expect to see.
newsroom is a bit less crowded these days. During the first week under the Paxton-Media Group, the new owners let go a quarter of the staff.
"It was painful. There were good people involved," editor Bob Ashley said. "From our standpoint, it seemed better to do it and be done with it rather than drag it out and have people coming to work everyday wondering if they still had a job."
Upset readers flooded the paper with angry phone calls and letters to the editor.
"It's flattering in a way people feel close their newspaper and they take it personally when something happens to their paper," Ashley said.
Ashley even puts a postive spin on the public lashing from
councilman Eugene Brown
during a council meeting.
"This week, a Durham institution was changed and not necessarily for the better," Brown said at the meeting.
"One of the charms of Durham and Chapel Hill is that it has a long history of outspoken people and contentious public debate and that's a healthy thing," Ashley said.
Ashley's focus these days is the future and changes to the newspaper. In the coming weeks, the paper will expand it's coverage of Person, Granville and Chatham counties.
"Local news will now play a more prominent role on the front page," he said. "We're going to be active, visible and committed to this place."
Ashley said the job cuts were made because of financial reasons. He also said terminated workers were escorted from the building immediately. because of security concerns and on the advice of the company's lawyers.