Gannett, America’s Largest Newspaper Chain, Lays Off Journalists After Dismal Earnings Report – Updated

UPDATED list of papers impacted, company statement added: In a late-Friday move Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, executed layoffs at outlets across the country.

While no official tally was available, journalists at the Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald, (South Texas) Caller-Times, Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune, Ventura County Star, St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, Monroe (Louisiana) News-Star, Billerica (Massachusetts) Minuteman, (Milwaukee) Journal Sentinel, Panama City (Florida) News-Herald, the (Kentucky) Courier Journal as well as Gadsden Times, Tuscaloosa News, Montgomery Advertiser (all in Alabama) reported layoffs at their publications.

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There was no indication company’s flagship national paper, USA Today, was hit.

Per AP, in financials announced last week, Gannett’s revenue dropped 7% from the same time last year to nearly $749 million. At the same time, its operating expenses snuck up 1% from last year to nearly $770 million.

Gannett suffered a loss of nearly $54 million during the quarter and trimmed its revenue projection for the full year to roughly $3 billion from a previous forecast of $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion.

CEO Michael Reed announced to analysts last week that the company would be “taking significant and and permanent costs” out its business, with an emphasis on its print editions.

A company spokesperson issued the following statement to Deadline:

“We’ve been transparent about the need to evolve our operations and cost structure in line with our growth strategy while also needing to take swift action given the challenging economic environment. These staffing reductions are incredibly difficult, and we are grateful for the contributions of our departing colleagues.

“Out of deep respect for our colleagues, there is no further comment. ”

Gannett, which owns over 200 daily U.S. newspapers, had more than 16,000 employees worldwide last year which included more than 4,200 reporters, editors and photographers.

The NewsGuild, which represents more than 1,500 Gannett journalists across roughly 50 newsrooms, indicated to Poynter that it had identified 35 layoffs across 20 newsrooms. There are likely many others.

In June, Reed announced an organizational restructuring creating two new business units: Gannett Media and Digital Marketing Solutions.

Gannett Media, the company said, “will prioritize content, news, business-to-business and commitment to subscribers while continuing to accelerate Gannett’s digital subscriber growth.”

The Digital Marketing Solutions unit is charged with furthering “the transformation of the DMS business to ensure loyalty from existing customers who value the platform while attracting new customers to engage with the available digital solutions. This includes building a complementary business model with streamlined, do-it-yourself SaaS offerings for new customer segments.”

Reed announced at the time that, “This reorganization ensures our consumer and B2B businesses are strategically optimized for our next stage of growth…improving the efficiency of our operations.”

Those actions, he concluded, “will enable the acceleration of Gannett’s digital future as a data and technology subscription-led business.”

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