More than 100 employees laid off as Uruguayan newspaper ends print edition, goes digital

After circulating for more than 30 years, the Uruguayan newspaper UNoticias announced it is ending its print edition and moving exclusively online as of Monday, Aug. 27, according to the news portal El País.

This digital transition resulted in the layoff of more than 100 UNoticias employees, who occupied the old newsroom defending their jobs and demanding labor debt payments, reported the Uruguayan Press Association (APU in Spanish). Because of the announcement, the newspaper's Friday, Aug. 24, edition did not circulate.

In a statement, the newspaper's publisher Impresora Polo S.A. said that the suspension of the printed version is due to "changes in consumers' reading habits, which happens everywhere in the world, and isn't different in Uruguay, where more readers choose to be informed through new electronic communication platforms each day."

The news surprised the newspaper's employees, even the editors, who were not informed previously. According to the APU, the company's managers left the newspaper's offices hours before the announcement and, since then, have remain closed to any negotiation. They were summoned by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security for a meeting on Monday, Aug. 27, reported the news portal Terra.

The company highlighted in its announcement that "through new publishing projects, it hopes to incorporate into the labor market the workers who were sadly affected today by an affair that has nothing to do with their professional performance."

The Federation of Journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean expressed solidarity with the newspaper's employees in a story published on Sunday, Aug. 26, and said that it would follow the negotiations in defense of the workers rights of UNoticias employees.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.