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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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com, launched in 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut. The first of Frederick's three books, "Creepy Ass Cracker" (842 pages, Xlibris), hits bookstores in July. The second book, "Wrestling ReWind is scheduled for publication in October. The third book, "The Day NASCAR Died: 15th Anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500," is planned for publication in February 2016.
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