Reading Eagle's new owner reveals plans to cut 81 jobs

MediaNews Group to complete its purchase June 30

READING, Pa. - The Reading Eagle Company's new owners have revealed plans to cut about one-third of the newspaper publisher's staff.

MediaNews Group plans to cut 81 of the Reading Eagle's more than 200 jobs when it finalizes its $5-million purchase of the company on June 30, according to an updated WARN notice posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's website.

MediaNews Group, the lone qualified bidder for the Reading Eagle, has not publicly identified the positions being cut, but one of the jobs lost is that of the newspaper's editor, Garry Lenton, who announced his departure in a column posted on the Reading Eagle's website on Monday.

"My tenure came during a difficult time in the newspaper's history, as the company struggled to meet the challenges of a changing market and strong competition for advertising dollars from online sources," wrote Lenton, who joined the company in 2012.

The family-owned Reading Eagle Company had 236 full-time and 20 part-time employees when it filed for bankruptcy protection on March 20.

MediaNews Group, better known as Digital First Media, has a reputation for deep cost cutting within the struggling newspapers it has purchased. It has not said whether it plans to cut additional jobs after its purchase of the Reading Eagle Company is complete.

The Reading Eagle also owns weekly newspaper South Schuylkill News and Reading-based WEEU 830 AM. The radio station's FCC license is being sold separately.

MediaNews Group, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, also owns the Pottstown Mercury, the Lansdale Reporter, and BerksMont News, a cluster of weekly newspapers serving Berks and Montgomery counties.

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