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Arkansas News Bureau lays off 5 employees

By Rachel Hook

This article was published February 28, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.

Stephens Media-owned Arkansas News Bureau is losing the majority of its staff in a round of layoffs announced Friday morning, bureau chief Dennis Byrd said.

In a meeting at the bureau's North Little Rock office, a Stephens Media representative gave termination notices to five of the bureau's seven full-time employees, including Byrd, effective Monday.

News editor James Jefferson, staff writer Rob Moritz, sports columnist Harry King and administrative assistant Kathy Satterfield were also among those let go. State Capitol reporter John Lyon and Razorbacks reporter Robbie Neiswanger will remain on the bureau's staff, Byrd said.

While Byrd did not disclose the reason given by Stephens Media for the layoffs, he said he thinks it's a sign of "the industry in general."

"There are just a lot of changes going on with newspaper companies everywhere, so this is just part of the climate, I guess."

Byrd, who has served as bureau chief for 18 years, said he was planning to retire in April and those plans would not be largely affected by his termination. "I won't say it's not a big deal, but it's not the end of the world for me," he said, adding that he felt worse for his colleagues than for himself.

The youngest of those let go is 53-year-old Moritz, who is married to Arkansas Business editor Gwen Moritz, Byrd said.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.

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