The Saratogian and the Troy Record, two daily newspapers owned by Digital First Media, laid off five newsroom workers Tuesday.
“We had a reduction in our workforce today of five people,” said Mike O’Sullivan, publisher of The Saratogian. “It’s part of Digital First Media’s digital transformation.”
Among those who lost their jobs were photographers Ed Burke, who worked at The Saratogian since the late 1980s, and Erica Miller, the Saratoga Springs newspaper’s chief photographer. Joe Rocha, the Saratogian editorial page editor since 2009, was also laid off, as was Sue Chasney, the Troy Record’s calendar editor, who worked there since 1987. A sports reporter, whose name could not be confirmed Tuesday, was also laid off.
Miller was born and raised in Saratoga Springs and graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 2002. She said she will miss taking photos for her hometown newspaper — of everything from Hillary Clinton’s book-signing at Northshire Bookstore on Tuesday to youth sporting events.
“Shooting the little things where the community really comes back to me and will send the messages like ‘Thank you so much for getting my kid in the paper.’ To me, that was the best part,” she said.
Miller, who started at The Saratogian in 2008, said she understands the newspaper’s decision. This was her second time being laid off from a job there. She lost her job six months after she was first hired and was hired back six months later.
“It’s definitely not their fault,” she said. “There’s a lot of cutbacks that are going on right now, and it just happens. In the whole industry, there’s a lot of cutbacks.”
Miller’s Tuesday afternoon Facebook post about losing her job was flooded with encouraging comments from fans of her work. “You will be missed Erica. You’ve done great work,” wrote Ray O’Conor, chairman of Saratoga National Bank & Trust Co. “I hope your new bigger and better ventures allow you to stay in the area.”
Bill Jones, sports information director at Skidmore College, tweeted: “@EdBurkeToga and @togianphotog are two of the best at what they do. Hopefully somebody figures that out. #rebound.”
O’Sullivan said The Record and Saratogian share newsroom staff and are now down to two photographers.
Digital First Media owns more than 100 newspapers across the United States. The company made national news in April when it announced plans to close Project Thunderdome, a centralized newsroom in New York City for the company’s newspapers, and lay off about 100 employees.