Queens Tribune lays off staff as paper goes through financial turmoil, sources say

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Most of the staff at the Queens Tribune was laid off on Dec. 17 as the weekly newspaper finds itself in deep financial waters, according to information that QNS obtained.

The news came from several individuals familiar with the Tribune’s operations who had asked not to be identified. QNS attempted to reach out on Tuesday to multiple reporters, salespeople and other staff members listed on the paper’s website for further confirmation, but has yet to receive any response. Most attempted calls were sent to each individual’s voicemail.

The reported layoffs occurred just eight months after the Tribune was sold by its parent company, Tribco Inc., to Ocean Gold Media. QNS made contact on Dec. 18 with Michael Tobman, a part-owner of Ocean Gold Media and counsel for the company, but he declined to comment about the situation.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the Tribune’s ownership is now “searching for new financing.” In the meantime, along with cutting back on staff, the paper has also reduced its print run.

Soon after the purchase, Ocean Gold had brought in new leadership for its editorial and events department, including Andrew Holt, former City & State magazine publisher, and Gerson Borrero, former editor-in-chief of El Diario la Prensa.

In the weeks that followed, the Tribune rolled out a new look on newsstands, abandoning the tabloid format in favor of a large broadsheet on bright paper. The company also relocated its editorial offices from Whitestone to Long Island City.

The Tribune debuted in 1970 as The Flushing Tribune. The paper was started by Gary Ackerman, a history teacher at the time who eventually went into politics, becoming a state senator and later a Congressman. Ackerman had sold the paper in the 1980s to News Communications, then bought it back from the company in 2002.

Over the last 48 years, the Tribune expanded its coverage area out of Flushing to cover much of Queens; it also launched The Press of Southeast Queens, a weekly paper dedicated to the southeast region.

This is a developing story; check with QNS later for further updates.