The latest Gannett newspaper job cuts will end up eliminating about 2,000 positions across all of the company’s 85 daily papers, except the Detroit Free Press and USA Today, according to Tara Connell, the company’s vice president of corporate communications.
The cutbacks, which will affect about 10 percent of jobs in the company’s Community Publishing Division, were announced in late October in a letter from Robert Dickey, president of the community publishing division, to publishers. Those cuts follow a previous downsizing of some 1,000 jobs in the same division in August.
“In the letter, it was explained that this was the result of economic declines,” Connell said. “This is the end result of that.”
Several Gannett papers in October wrote about the letter and pending cuts.
“While this is more bad news, it is a sign of Gannett’s determination to remain healthy and viable as a company during these turbulent economic times,” Dickey said in the letter, according to a story then in Gannett’s Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen, which noted at the time that “Publishers of individual newspapers were asked…to develop local job reduction plans by mid-November to achieve the 10 percent division-wide cut.”
Dickey’s letter went on to state: “decisions will be made locally because each of our markets is unique, with differing market conditions and individual needs in light of our previous reductions.”
The final cuts have been revealed in the past couple of days from Gannett dailies as varied as The Indianapolis Star, which is cutting 52 jobs, to the St. Cloud (Minn.) Times, laying off 23. Connell said Gannett corporate management did not handle the announcement because it left it up to individual papers to decide how many cuts to make and where.
“We said that it was going to be locally decided and locally managed and that is exactly what happened,” Connell said. “We didn’t know numbers because we were leaving it up to local papers.”
Connell added that all of the cuts are keeping with the company’s mandate to keep expenses tied to revenue: “Hopefully, we will not have to do anymore [daily newspaper] layoffs, but it has to be kept in line with revenue.”
She also said other divisions outside of community publishing are likely to be affected as well. “There have been and will continue to be layoffs throughout the company,” she said.