A new Herald-Times editor also started Friday after the previous editor announced his retirement last year, which was unrelated to the ownership change and layoffs.
Photographer Jeremy Hogan and graphics editor Bill Thornbro were the two employees laid off by GateHouse Media. They were notified Wednesday, which was their last day of work.
Hogan said he didn’t go into work Wednesday because he had a fever. Someone called him to tell him he was laid off.
Four other employees of the Hoosier Times newspaper group, which includes newspapers around the state, were also laid off, the Herald-Times reported.
Hogan had worked for the Herald-Times since August 1997, he said. There is now only one staff photographer left at the paper.
When he started at the newspaper, he said, he and the other photographers wanted to make it one of the best photo papers in the country.
“Over the next almost 23 years I’ve come at it with that same attitude,” Hogan said.
Eventually, he started shooting videos in addition to photos, often of the same event, Hogan said. He said he’s always tried to serve the community with the best visual journalism.
Bill Thornbro did not respond to an email to his Herald-Times email address requesting comment, but it's unclear whether the address is still active.
Bob Zaltsberg, 65, was editor of the Herald-Times for 33 years, and Thursday was his last day. He announced his retirement in November 2018, and said it was unrelated to the newspaper’s sale.
He said while he hated that Hogan and Thornbro were laid off, he understands journalism is a for-profit business and GateHouse Media made a business decision.
Of his own retirement, Zaltsberg said it felt like the right time for him to leave.
“The staff he’s inheriting now is extremely talented and committed to doing good journalism,” Zaltsberg said of new editor J.J. Perry.
Perry, a 47-year-old IU alumnus, worked at the Herald-Times for 13 years in different roles, from copy technician to assistant managing editor. He spent the last eight years as executive editor of the American News in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
He said he was excited when the opportunity arose to come back to Bloomington. The city and newsroom don’t feel the same as when he left, he said, but it’s nice to be around familiar faces.
“What Bob did there seemed like magic to me,” Perry said of Zaltsberg. “I always wondered what it would be like to be not just an editor, but an editor in Bloomington — where I started.”
Perry said it was a little awkward to start his new job immediately following the newspaper’s sale and subsequent layoffs, but said he feels like he’s transitioning with the other employees.
“I think it helps that I’m familiar with the town and the Hoosier Times and also the mission of this particular newspaper,” he said. “I think that’ll help us get over the hump.”