The Ann Arbor Observer Company laid off five staff members on Tuesday.
“They’re all good people who have contributed tremendously to the Observer’s publications,” says publisher and co-owner Patricia Garcia. “By sharing in a staff-wide pay freeze, they helped us adjust to a 10 percent decline in advertising sales last year. Just in the last two months, however, sales for the monthly Ann Arbor Observer have dropped another 20 percent.
“We aren’t the first media company to reduce staff, and I’m afraid we won’t be the last,” says Garcia, noting the recent cutbacks at the Ann Arbor News and Ann Arbor Radio. “But it’s especially hard for a small, locally owned company. Our hearts go out to these people and their families.”
In addition to the layoffs, an open position will remain unfilled. The reductions affect all departments in the company, which also publishes the Community Observer, the City Guide, the Guest Guide, and arborweb.com.
“We are fortunate to have a very broad base of advertisers,” says Garcia, “but in this recession, nearly all of them are hurting.
“We believe the current ad sales decline is cyclical, but all signs are pointing to a long recession. As painful as they are, these changes will allow us to survive until the local economy recovers.”