The Herald Censors Itself After Layoffs

June 20, 2024

Everett Jobs

Fourteen hours after we reported on the Herald laying off half its staff, The Herald ran its own story. That story was published at 5:29 pm Wednesday. By Thursday morning, the story was pulled down.

Former staff and readers were livid. A news organization censoring itself? The Herald publisher, Rudi Alcott, who lives in Maple Valley and operates out of Kent, said to one of the former Herald editors, it was not his decision, but the article “smacks of an incredible hit piece.”

In response to the backlash (including a potential walkout of the remaining staff), the story went back up at 3:33 pm, but it was altered.

Let’s take a look at what changed. 

The original story subtitle was:

“A dozen journalists were handed walking papers Wednesday, in a wave of layoffs mandated by new owners, Carpenter Media Group.”

The word “mandated” was removed and the statement was altered to soften the blow for “long term success”:

The original story intro was:

Despite the original article being altered online, it still made it to print.

“The new owners of The Daily Herald gutted over half of the newsroom staff Wednesday, including the newspaper’s two top editors.”

This was altered to:
“Daily Herald management announced Wednesday the elimination of 12 positions, including two editors.”

This sentence removed “impending fate” and replaced it with “decision.”

The close-knit staff shed tears and shared hugs as they learned their impending fate of the decision.

Other alterations include:

  • Belittling the Everett NewsGuild Union by changing the statement as only representing 10 of the employees.
  • That leaves the newsroom with only… [list of positions] ” was changed to “The newsroom continues to be staffed with… [list of positions]”
  • “No full-time digital staff or full-time news page designers” was altered to “Digital and news page design staff members are part-time.”

Carpenter Media also slipped in their first public statement after the article into the middle it:

Despite the job losses, ownership at Carpenter reaffirmed its commitment to the long-term success of journalism in Snohomish County.

“We are committed to Everett, The Herald and all who have a stake in its success,” Chairman Todd Carpenter said. “We have deep sympathy for those affected by these changes and will work hard with each of them to see they are well-compensated through a transition period that helps them move forward in a positive way.

“Our responsibility to the community and our readers requires us to make difficult business decisions, and then invest in and organize our team to move forward to produce a product that continues to improve and serve. Our track record in this process is good. We seek to work with the best and brightest and to pay them well. We must have a strong business with highly productive people to meet our standards, and with the help of our team and community we expect to meet them here in the days to come.”

It’s good to see the article back up, even if it has been altered to soften the blow. Just in case it gets taken down again, we wanted to list the names of the reporters who no longer work for The Herald:

  • Phillip O’Connor, executive editor
  • Caleb Hutton, local news editor
  • Annie Barker, photographer
  • Jenelle Baumbach, politics reporter
  • Ryan Berry, photographer
  • Aaron Coe, sports reporter
  • Aina de Lapparent Alvarez, general assignment reporter
  • Kate Erickson, digital news producer
  • Sophia Gates, City Hall reporter
  • Nicholas Johnson, page designer
  • Taras McCurdie, sports reporter
  • Maya Tizon, breaking news reporter

About My Everett News Staff

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

View all posts by My Everett News Staff