46 laid off at Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com

     (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    Nearly 50 journalists at the Philadelphia Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com got pink slips today, as the company downsizes to save money.

    Dana DiFilippo, a 16-year veteran of the Daily News who’s done breaking news, investigative stories, and won awards, was stunned when she was summoned to editor Michael Days’ office and told she’s gone.

    “I didn’t even stay to sign off my computer,” DiFilippo said. “I just left. It’s really not fun to have to have to hug people that you’ve worked together so long with goodbye.”

    Howard Gensler, president of the Newspaper Guild Local 10, said the 46 layoffs aren’t apportioned equally among the companies properties.

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    The Inquirer, which has the biggest staff, is losing 12 jobs, while 17 are gone from the Daily News, and another 17 from Philly.com.

    “While the company has talked a good game about transitioning itself into a digital company, they’ve basically gutted the digital operation,” Gensler said.

    The company announced last week it would be reducing staff and combining news-gathering operations into a single newsroom.

    Gensler said the cuts at the Daily News and the combination of the newsrooms “will be the death knell for the Daily News.”

    “There still might be a newspaper that comes out every day that has the Daily News flag on it,” Gensler said. “But it will not be the Daily News that people are used to reading.”

    DiFilippo, who is married with two children, said she worries as much about her profession as herself.

    “I feel like I have a lot of work left undone. I probably have a dozen stories in the pipeline I haven’t finished,” she said. “It’s kind of heartbreaking that they’re laying people off when we’re doing such important work. You wonder who will do that work when you’re not around anymore.”

    David Boardman, dean of Temple’s School of Media and Communications, said he knows how painful layoffs can be, but he said they are necessary steps for the survival of the enterprise.

    Even after the cuts, Boardman said, the newsroom will still be one of the largest in the country.

    A company statement said it’s engaged an outplacement firm to help those losing their jobs find new ones.

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