Dottie Ashley, the Post and Courier’s long-time arts reporter, was laid off today. Ashley was among 25 people, many in the newsroom, who were tapped only months after the daily newspaper offered buy-outs to anybody who would take one. We called to find out how Ashley’s departure is going to affect the paper’s coverage of arts, culture, and entertainment, especially coverage of theater, classical music, and dance. Possible options would be to contract Ashley as a freelancer or to farm out her beat to a bevy of stringers. But publisher Larry Tarleton told City Paper there was nothing more to say at this time aside from the public statement issued earlier today. “It’s been a tough day here,” Tarleton said. “We’ll figure everything else out later.”

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