Altice Lays Off Up To 40 At News 12

“It was an extremely chaotic day,” says one laid-off staffer of the cuts and how they were handled at the company’s metro New York area news channel.

“I knew I was getting whacked.”

So says one of at least 30 staffers who were laid off Monday morning by News 12, the troubled network owned by Altice consisting of seven cable channels and a streaming channel that serve the New York Metropolitan Area.

The worker, who says he has 30 years of experience in TV news, and spent many of them with News 12, says last week a manager told him that, in spite of recent shifts in responsibilities, his job was
secure. But yesterday, while engaged in another new task that did not fall into his original job description, he was suddenly called into his station’s main office.

“I knew the plastic was on the rug at that point,” the now former staffer says. “It was the Joe Pesci moment when I knew that I was just about to get shot through the head,” he says, in reference to the film Goodfellas.

“They said they’d pay me for the rest of the month,” he recounts. “They gave me a very minimal buyout, which was very minimal, and then they said by the end of November you’re gonna lose your cable system — ‘anything you get from the company will be discontinued; you will be charged appropriately’ — and you can go on unemployment by December.”

Another former network employee referred to the layoffs as “Black Monday at the News 12 Networks” in a social media post.


“I’m obviously very sad; I was totally caught off guard by this,” says a woman who was also let go, similarly to some others via phone call. “The past year and a half there was probably the best year and a half I had.”

The woman says she thrived at the network and is grateful that the company granted her creative freedom. She also says she didn’t mind the drift from hyperlocal content, which compelled a number of News 12 staffers to leave the station group in recent months. It stands in contrast to many others who’ve spoken to TVNewsCheck in the past about News 12 under Altice leadership — which, among other changes since its takeover from Cablevision, has gradually moved programming content away from its channels’ original hyperlocal focus.

“It wasn’t a great deal money-wise, but it was a good deal in terms of life balance,” the woman says, adding: “I was just lucky that some of the people who have been very difficult to work with and have made my life miserable for years got bought out in the past year or two.”

According to multiple sources with ties to News 12, who spoke with TVNewsCheck under varying degrees of anonymity, after the layoffs were announced Monday many of the dismissed workers attended a meeting with an Altice executive.

“They held like one of these video conferences from whoever the President is — I don’t know, they change every six months,” says one source, who describes the call as a “song and dance” with the
intention of dispelling “rumors” about who was being laid off and the state of News 12.

Over time, the conference call became contentious, with laid-off personnel being muted after expressing frustration. A number of former workers who were informed of their dismissal by phone were not permitted to return to their respective offices to retrieve their personal belongings. They were told instead that the items would be mailed to them.

Throughout the day, newly dismissed staffers, along with others who had previously been let go or had left the group voluntarily, exchanged emotional text messages. When some individual names were mentioned, attached were observances that they are parents to “little ones at home” or kids attending or heading to college.

One source says there was chatter over the seeming randomness of the dismissals. Axed personnel ranged from longtime on-air talent, producers and photographers to those who’d been hired just a few months ago.

“It was an extremely chaotic day” for the station group, says one source who was laid off. Multiple sources say the number of people who were let go could be as high as 40, with the New Jersey- and
Connecticut-based stations the hardest hit.

The layoffs arrive a little more than a year after TVNewsCheck reported that News 12 New Jersey experienced a mass exodus of workers, who left the channel fed up over the programming changes and contentious supervisor hires. That article inspired other sources from across the group to come forward and say the problems were not contained to just the New Jersey branch, but that they were spread throughout the organization. Since then there have been additional exits of recognizable faces, some via layoffs, across News 12. Until yesterday, though, those departure announcements were limited to just a few names.

“There are big financial problems,” says one source, who cites not just the layoffs as proof but a constant rejiggering of staff. Another says station execs recently announced live programming cutbacks.

Throughout, Altice has said the company values News 12, its employees and its hyperlocal programming. Noting that News 12 is still home to 400 personnel, an Altice representative issued this comment on the latest round of layoffs: “News 12 is committed to its mission of connecting viewers to the hyperlocal, award-winning news they care about across the many platforms on which they consume content. As part of this mission, we are investing in more in-community reporting and events, creating content for streaming platforms, and making a user-friendly hub for all things local. We are proud of News 12’s history and look forward to continuing to be the go-to source of news for new and loyal viewers across all channels, platforms and mediums.”

Comments (1)

Leave a Reply

Project Truth says:

October 3, 2023 at 7:28 pm

Once again the Altice Management and Marketing runs rampant on journalistic integrity. By getting rid of any professional that questions the integrity of running sponsored segments as news. Remember Don’t get in between a VP and their bonus.