Jersey Journal Lays Off Political Reporter Torres

Website Politico reported earlier today that Jersey City’s local paper the Jersey Journal has laid off veteran political reporter Agustin Torres.   Torres has written the “Political Insider” column since 2004.

The Jersey Journal is now published by Advance Media, which also owns the Newark Star-Ledger.  The Journal has gone through wave after wave of layoffs and operates with what is essentially a skeleton crew of reporters.

The lack of a local newspaper political columnist is unhealthy for a democracy.  Whether you agreed with Augie Torres or not, his columns and those of his predecessor, the late Peter Weiss, were the basis for my getting a grasp on the local political scene and getting to know some of the individuals involved.

At times I have wondered if Jersey City would be better served simply by having a Hudson County edition of the Star-Ledger.  But even as the Jersey Journal’s staff and coverage have been whittled down, it was the presence of local columnists like Augie Torres and Earl Morgan (still working there, knock wood) that convinced me it was important to keep the Journal as a true local paper, as opposed to a local edition of a regional broadsheet.  Advance Media’s cutbacks are a disservice not just to those who are laid off, but to our entire city.

Tocqueville weeps.