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‘Good news’ from Norwalk Daily Voice: Your job is gone

Daily Voice layoffs 005

The sign at 53 Water Street in Norwalk has not been updated since Main Street Connect changed its name to The Daily Voice last May.

Updated, March 10

NORWALK, Conn. – The interim CEO and founder of a formerly Norwalk-based company sent out an email Friday to his employees advertising “good news” – and on Monday laid half of them off.

The Daily Voice, formerly known as Main Street Connect, went through a major contraction Monday. It lopped off all of its Massachusetts-based employees – a chain it had bought more than a year ago, nearly a dozen sites – and laid off at least three of its Norwalk-based employees.

That includes Mark Chapman, husband of this reporter.

Main Street Connect was founded in December 2009 by Carll Tucker, the former editor and publisher of Trader Publications, a community news company in Cross River, N.Y.  Its first site, TheDailyNorwalk.com, was launched in March 2010. It quickly grew to 10 sites in Fairfield County. The company went on to purchase CentralMassNews.com, a network of 10 online community news centers serving Central Massachusetts. Both Fairfield and Massachusetts groups were tweaked in the past several months, adding some sites, combining some and dropping others.

In early 2011, the company launched 32 sites at once in Westchester County. About a year ago, Zohar Yardeni,  formerly of Thomson Reuters, took over as CEO; Tucker became president of the board of directors.

The company was rebranded as The Daily Voice last May.

Yardeni resigned on Friday, according to an email sent to employees Friday morning.

Tucker followed with another email Friday afternoon.

“Zohar has been a great leader — and a great human being,” he said. “He has taught us all what it means to be an Internet company. I look forward to his continued involvement with The Daily Voice as a strategic adviser.”

He then laid it on thick: “Monday morning we will share with you the news about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. The news is good – but you’ll need to sit tight while we finalize our plans. Check your email for information about our company-wide phone conference early Monday morning. I am pumped about the prospect of working with you to build a great company.”

Late Sunday night, another TDV executive sent an email advising everyone that they would hear from their supervisors in the morning.

Mr. Chapman was informed of his layoff in a face-to-face meeting in the Norwalk office. He subsequently learned through a Facebook post from the Massachusetts editor that the entire Massachusetts chain has been let go. That source indicated layoffs as well in Westchester.

An employee shared the news about other layoffs with this reporter.

13 comments

Diane C2 March 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Nancy (and Mark), I’m very sorry to hear this bad news. Unlike many corporate restructurings it sounds like this one was completely unexpected and I’m sorry for anyone who gets news like this on Monday mornings. I hope a new and even better job is right around the corner.

LWitherspoon March 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

@Nancy and family
I’m sorry to hear this news and disappointed to hear about the manner in which it was done. Best of luck to you.

Luke March 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm

That sounds like executives. Workers are dirt, so treat them that way, and screw with them while you’re at it.
This is how most US companies treat their employees and even their customers.
One way to look at this is your husband can have a new start with a better company or maybe on his own. Who wants to be part of a company that communicates with its employees that way?

dawn March 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

i am going to cancel my subscription. I hope others do the same.
I just heard somewhere yesterday that the coporate greed and hoarding that is going on today is more than ever. The average CEO makes 320 time more more that the average employee. Not the lowest paid but average employee.

IS THAT REALLY NECESSARY.

Corporations are holding onto money, not hiring, and expecting more with less.

Don’t get me wrong i am all for capitalism. I say if you worked hard i hope you get to be a millionaire. A poor person never gave me a job. But come on. These corporations weant to take all the consumer dollars out of the us societies and reinvest where labor is cheaper, China, India, South America. Good for them. Sucks to be us.

There need to be be some things put in place to protect the American economy.

BUY AMERICAN!!!!

oldtimer March 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

It is unfortunate, but more and more businesses that we think of as callings are being run, not but kindred spirits but by bean counters who see nothing but the bottom line. I have complete confidence you will land on your feet show us all how news should be reported.

Bryan Meek March 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Oldtimer, don’t blame bean counters. They are just performing a function. Board Independence is the issue. Boards set executive comp, but this is a lofty club that is very difficult to get into. This is circumvented by excecutives trading board seats, if you will, to give an appearance of independence. Germany and other central European countries have it in law that labor has to have equal representation on a board with management and independent outsiders. In Germany CEO to worker pay is around 12:1. Here it is almost 500:1.

Dodd-Frank was supposed to address some of this, but instead it focuses on making 4 really large banks and killing off all the small ones who would have invested in smaller startups who would make more jobs quicker and increase wages due to demand for labor. Kill off Dodd Frank and watch the economy grow like it would have naturally. Or rewrite it to actually help consumers and labor instead of the corporate donors who wrote it.

LWitherspoon March 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

Nancy, do you have any news regarding the Daily Voice’s financial condition? Are they profitable?

Nancy Chapman March 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hi LWitherspoon,
The Daily Voice is not profitable, and never has been. It’s looked at as an investment — if we keep putting money into it it will make money eventually. Zohar mentioned that it takes a long time to build the brand name, to get people in the habit of coming to the site. At one point someone said it took three years for people to start thinking of a news site as established.
Last August, Zohar was quoted as saying, “We are not yet profitable, but believe we are far closer than any other large digital competitors.”
I’ve been told that on Tuesday CEO and founder Carll Tucker informed the remaining employees that the company nearly went out of business Sunday. Investors were not happy with the amount of money Zohar had spent; Zohar left because he was at an impasse with the board — he wanted to aggressively charge after the market, they wanted to cut back. According to this account, the investors were going to pull out and Tucker, et al, frantically cut employees to appease them.
That includes closing the Massachusetts chain started three years ago by Jenn Paluzzi and Jack Schofield. Tucker et al bought it about a year and half ago and went on to kill it. Ms. Paluzzi says that yesterday she saw a citizen who was in tears, asking where they’d get news now.
Remaining employees are now covering at least two towns each. Norwalk reporter Al Branch appears to be covering Darien, too.
Zohar made life much better at Main Street Connect. The working conditions became much more bearable. I’m sorry to see him lose this battle, but, like Carll, he’ll be ab$olutely fine.

Nancy Chapman March 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Dawn,
It’s interesting to see you say “Buy American.” The Daily Voice outsources jobs. Frankly, I was offended when I heard Carll Tucker say the website technicians were in Sri Lanka. He seemed to think that was really cool. Eyes flashed around the room; other working class types were disgusted as well.
We just found out the company uses a company in India to compile obituary information. I’m told that editing them isn’t fun.

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About this site

NancyOnNorwwalk.com was conceived as the place to go for Norwalk residents to get the real, unvarnished story about what is going on in and around their city. NancyOnNorwalk does not intend to be a print newspaper online; rather, it exists to pull the curtain back and shine a spotlight on how Norwalk is run and what is happening regarding issues that have an impact on taxpayers’ pocketbooks and safety. As an independent site, NancyOnNorwalk’s first and only allegiance is to the reader.

About Nancy

Nancy came to Norwalk more than 2 years ago as the Norwalk reporter for the Norwalk Daily Voice and resigned in October to begin Nancy On Norwalk. She is married to a career journalist, has a son, Eric (the artist and web designer who built this website) and two middle-aged cats who are still trying to work out a peaceful co-existence.