Kennedi Jackson | Staff Writer
Nearly 150 years after the Virginian-Pilot was founded in 1865, the largest Virginia newspaper in Virginia is cutting close to 10 percent of its staff.
The parent company, Pilot Media, has offered to pay buyouts to long-term employees who have served at least 25 years with the paper, however they have also declared that if there are not enough volunteers, they will proceed with forced layoffs.
Cashara Quinn, a first-year journalism major and writer for HerCampus, has a strong opinion on the changes being made.
“I think it’s unfair that people are losing their jobs when they’ve been loyal to the company for a long time and just want to provide for their families,” Quinn said.
The Pilot is adapting to the changing media world and is hoping to convert from print to digital.
Pilot Media sees digital media as a more profitable venue, and the faster the digital platform grows, the slower print revenue comes in.
Despite this reasoning, Hampton University students wish that the shift wasn’t made so soon.
“The Pilot should stick with the traditional print newspaper,” Quinn said. “A lot of older people rely on newspapers and haven’t moved digitally yet. Having been around a long time, there are still many people who want to pick up a newspaper and read it rather than going online.”
Another concern with the newspaper reducing staff is that the publication will lose some of staff members’ creative input.
The newspaper is popular for its designs and production, but according to Forbes, even this signature outlet is being threatened.
By releasing some of the most expensive employees, the company is also losing their eldest and most experienced ones as well.
According to Pilot Media, the company wants to decrease the staff of 543 by slightly less than 10 percent.
Although the change is disappointing to some, Kennedy Peace, a strategic communications major from Pennsylvania, says she understands why it has to be done.
“It makes sense because a lot of things today are digital. If they realize what they are doing right now isn’t working and they want to take steps to improve their business, then that’s what they need to do,” Peace said.
“They’re put in a position where they have to figure out what step to take next, and unfortunately, making the shift from print to digital may be it.”