Sound Publishing has conducted a second round of layoffs at its Seattle-area papers, according to social media posts popping up in private networks Friday.
Contacted by phone Friday evening, Sound Publishing President Josh O’Connor declined comment, but said the company would have a statement Monday afternoon or Tuesday.
One Sound journalist whose layoff was being discussed on a private Facebook page declined comment when reached by phone Friday, citing fear of losing severance pay if Sound objects to coverage of this latest round of cuts.
O’Connor, who is also publisher of The Daily Herald in Everett, last month told customers the precipitous drop in advertising sales during the pandemic could sink Sound papers. On March 20, he emailed readers of the Daily Herald, seeking donations to fund investigative reporting. “We will do our best, but without local advertising revenue, The Daily Herald cannot survive,” O’Connor wrote. “I cannot stress enough the peril that we are facing.”
Four days later, O’Connor announced the first round of furloughs and layoffs among the 43-paper company’s 350-person staff. In addition to the Daily Herald and The Peninsula Daily News in Port Angeles, Sound produces dozens of weeklies in 12 Washington counties. In the March 24 announcement, O’Connor said Sound would stop printing nine of its 13 free community weeklies. At that time, six part-time reporters and editors were left producing 11 Seattle-area weeklies.
Sound is the U.S. subsidiary of one of Canada’s largest newspaper chains, Black Press, Ltd. , which is headquartered near Vancouver, B.C.