In an effort to keep the “company healthy” amid cuts in advertising, The Advocate Editor Peter Kovacs announced this afternoon that the company was shifting to a four-day workweek for staff as well as furloughing 10% of the workforce.
The cuts come as online traffic for both NOLA.com and theadvocate.com have spiked, with Kovacs estimating traffic being three to four times above “normal.” Additionally, the pace of new digital subscriptions for the publications more than doubled in March, according to Kovacs’ letter. He blames a drop in advertising from COVID-19 for the cost-cutting decisions.
“At the same time, government closures, which we have supported, will impact our advertising partners, so our ad volume has dropped off,” Kovacs writes.
Though a list of furloughed employees was not disclosed, Kovacs notes furloughs will “chiefly impact people who cover sports and social events, which have been curtailed.” Switching to a four-day workweek roughly equates to a 20% pay cut for staff, which includes about 120 newsroom employees.
Kovacs was unable to be reached for more information before this afternoon’s deadline.
In an interview with New Orleans-based The Lens, The Advocate Publisher and President Judi Terzotis says that John Georges, the paper’s owner, would pay the health care premiums of furloughed employees. In an email to staff, she writes that permanent cuts and layoffs would be a “last resort.”
Read more stories on how the coronavirus is impacting the Baton Rouge business community.