A group of four Asheville Citizen-Times reporters and photographers is reportedly leaving the newspaper’s news staff, with apparent plans to fill most of the openings. The departures don’t appear to be related to a layoff, although parent company Gannett did quietly layoff workers this spring.
Word on the street is that the following Citizen-Times reporters are leaving:
-Beth Walton, the newspaper’s social issues reporter and columnist, who started in fall 2014.
-Abby Margulis, breaking news reporter, who started in Asheville in 2015.
-Maddy Jones, a photojournalist hired in the fall of 2015.
-Julie Ball, a veteran editor and reporter who first came aboard the Citizen-Times in 1995 and has most recently been working as education reporter.
-Andrew Pearson, the lone full-time sports reporter for the Citizen-Times, who started in 2004. Pearson has done a great job with the newspaper’s popular high school sports blog, High School Huddle, which has thousands of followers.
Investigative reporter Tonya Maxwell left the newspaper in April.
The Asheville Citizen-Times is currently advertising for the following openings: a Reporter I, a social issues and education reporter; a growth and economic issues reporter; a photographer/videographer; and a sports department clerk.
The newspaper’s staff have been steadily declining for about the past eight years, mostly due to corporate-mandated layoffs. The newspaper’s website lists 22 newsroom staffers, with 10 of those working as reporters and/or columnists and the rest as digital producers (the new name for copy editors), photographers, one writing coach, one editorial page editor, one “strategist” and News Director Katie Wadington.
The most recent round of layoffs hit in October of last year, when the Asheville Citizen-Times slashed the jobs of veterans Tony Kiss, a reporter known as The Beer Guy; reporter Dale Neal, and author and superb storyteller; and beloved editorial page editor Jim Buchanan. Each had about three decades of service at the newspaper. Sports editor Bob Berghaus, who had been in Asheville for several years and worked for Gannett for decades, was also laid off, as was business reporter Mike Cronin and copy editor Denise Pridgen.
Back in August 2014, the newspaper lost a group of seven reporters in a newsroom reorganization that required employees to reapply. The year before that, another group of six newsroom employees was laid off.