Thursday, Aug. 14 — Its executive editor is gone and now the Lansing State Journal’s daily columnist was let go Friday as the Gannett-owned daily continues shedding staffers to save money.
Multiple sources say the Journal let go of Mark Mayes on Friday. He took over as the paper’s daily columnist in April 2012 after John Schneider retired from the job after 24 years. There was no announcement of the move. The last Mayes column posted on the LSJ’s website is from Saturday.
Mayes was formerly the Journal’s education reporter before he took a job with the Lansing School District in 2001 as a public information officer and marketing supervisor, according to this LinkedIn page. He was a reporter at the Journal from 1995 to 2001 and at the Battle Creek Enquirer from 1989 to 1995. His first column after coming back to the Journal appeared April 16, 2012.
One source added that Mayes is one of four total staffers being let go. The others are Publisher Brian Priester’s secretary, Trish Ray; a copy editor; and one more unidentified staffer. It is also rumored that more layoffs are coming on Aug. 30. Former executive editor Mickey Hirten, who had that job for 12 years, finished his time at the LSJ on Aug. 2 after his position was eliminated. Managing Editor Stephanie Angel will fill the role and keep her job title.
The news comes as Gannett is making layoffs companywide. The Journal is also trying to sell its downtown headquarters because the building’s too big for its shrinking staff size.
The Journal’s also battling circulation decline six months after it introduced a paywall on its website a year-and-a-half ago.