The Monterey Herald has been shrinking for a while, both in thickness and in staffing. The paper relocated on Monday from its Ryan Ranch office, which was sold to a nonprofit affiliated with CSU Monterey Bay, to a smaller place on Garden Road.
Along with the old newsroom, city beat reporter Larry Parsons retired on Friday. "I didn’t want to move to a smaller shoebox of a place,” he says.
Parsons is just the latest casualty of many: features writer Marcos Cabrera quit last year; investigate reporter Virginia Hennessey left to work as a PI earlier this year; Editor Royal Calkins was replaced by Santa Cruz Sentinel Editor Don Miller, who's doing double duty; long-time music writer Mac McDonald offered to give up his job if the company kept a copy editor on, and the company responded by waving bye-bye; and entire copy desk was outsourced to Chico, where parent company Digital First Media is consolidating certain functions.
One more thing will be going away tomorrow: reporters' bylines.
It's a one-day byline strike planned by members of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, who say they've been in stalled contract negotiations for months.
“We feel like the sacrifices we’ve been making have not only not been recognized,” guild spokesperson and veteran crime reporter Julia Reynolds says. “We feel like we’ve been treated with a slap in the face.
"We moved to smaller quarters, which indicates this company has no interest in expanding, only in downsizing."
Miller, the editor, directed questions to Publisher Gary Omernick; Omernick was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The union's three-year contract expired in November; they are now asking for a 2.5-percent raise, Reynolds says. That's down from 3 percent that a guild petition called for in April.
"The byline strike serves as a protest for Digital First Media's aggressive dismantling of this community resource," the union's Facebook announcement states.