Daytona Beach News-Journal reduces its workforce by 10 percent

DAYTONA BEACH -- News-Journal Corp.reduced its workforce Monday, with 48 staffers either terminated or bought out or in some cases voluntarily retired.

Among those let go were Executive Editor Don Lindley, Advertising Director Kathleen Coughlin and Personnel Director Doug Davis. Also leaving were newsroom political columnist Pamela Hasterok, who is Lindley's wife, Editorial Page Editor David Wiggins, editorial columnist Pierre Tristam and editorial cartoonist Bruce Beattie. The only editorial board member retained was Krys Fluker.

No names were mentioned by the News-Journal on its Web site Monday in announcing the layoffs, but readers were informed that the new ownership, under Michael Redding of Halifax Media, would officially take over Thursday.

The 48 were part of the 470 employees from a series of layoffs that started in 2004, when the newspaper employed more than 800. Then-owner Tippen Davidson, who has since passed away, spent $13 million in naming rights for the Daytona Beach News-Journal Center on Beach Street, a lively arts center, which resulted in a lawsuit with the newspaper's minority shareholder Cox Enterprises.

A federal judge ruled in favor of Cox that its minority shares, just under 50 percent, was worth $129 million, far more than the $29 million the News-Journal claimed.

The court allowed the newspaper to be sold to Redding's group for $20 million. In the interim, several hundred News-Journal employees lost their jobs and the newspaper's bureaus, including the one on Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, were closed two years ago.

The News-Journal has been run by a court-approved administrator, James Hopson, who has been receiving $2,000 daily as compensation from the newspaper.

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