South Dakota publications react to more Gannett layoffs at Argus Leader

The news of more lost jobs at the state’s largest newspaper is a shock for those in the industry. But many are looking to new publications and newsrooms.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:25 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The news of more lost jobs at the state’s largest newspaper is a shock for those in the industry. But many are looking to new publications and newsrooms as a potential new avenue for people to get their news fix.

The latest round of layoffs from Gannett is hitting home in Sioux Falls, with staff in the Argus Leader losing their jobs. In a statement to Dakota News Now, a Gannett Spokesperson says the cuts are unfortunate but necessary for the company to continue on in the future.

“While incredibly difficult, implementing these efficiencies and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility will continue to propel Gannett’s future.”

Gannett spokesperson in a statement to Dakota News Now.

The news though is tough to swallow for newspapers across the state.

“It’s not good for the newspaper, it’s not good for the community. But mostly, I feel for those who are losing their positions.” David Bordewyk said, Executive Director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association.

Bordewyk said the loss of reporters and staff at the paper is never good for the media climate in Sioux Falls. But he says there’s still plenty of coverage in the area.

“There’s a lot of news outlets covering the news in Sioux Falls. Whether it’d be print, digital, broadcast, and some emerging outlets as well,” Bordewyk said. “It’s reflective of that transition that’s going on. Sort of that hybrid, whether it be print/digital, digital/print type of operation. And I think we’re just going to see more of that to come.”

One of those emerging outlets is The Dakota Scout. Co-founded by Joe Sneve and Jonathan Ellis, both former reporters at the Argus, Sneve said it’s been a leap to start their own publication covering Sioux Falls and the rest of the state. But it’s been working.

“It’s a lot of work. But the community seems to have embraced it. We feel like we’re filling a void, there’s demand for news out there.” Sneve said.

He said smaller, hybrid publications like theirs and others based in Sioux Falls could be the way forward for journalism in South Dakota’s larger cities, as the demand for local news is stronger than ever.

“The journalism is still the same, but there’s a lot more than just the journalism. But it’s been successful so far. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we feel like it’s working. Every week we have growth.”

Bordewyk said there’s still plenty of local papers across the state thriving and finding their own audience.

“Community papers, many of them weekly newspapers, that are doing just fine serving their communities. In fact, many of them or some of them would love to hire employees. They can’t find people to work at their newspaper.” Bordewyk said.

Bordewyk said now is a time of transition for much of the newspapers and media in the state, with changing markets and advertisers. But he said as long as there’s demand for local news, someone will be there to provide it.