Gannett announces large round of layoffs, shakeup to its digital operations

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Newspaper giant Gannett announced another large-scale round of layoffs Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.

Around 200 journalists were cut out of the 3,440 who work in newsrooms across the country. These newsrooms produce local and regional news content for the company’s 100 daily newspapers and 1,000 weeklies as well as the national newspaper USA Today.

The company is also planning to eliminate its regional clusters of digital optimization team producers who handle much of the management of the chain’s newspapers’ online content. Approximately 125 people work on these teams and are expected to lose their jobs.

The cuts come 18 months after the Atlanta-based DOT hub voted to unionize.

Gannett’s newsrooms will need to assign staffers to handle the responsibility of managing digital content previously done by DOTs, essentially reverting back to its old model. The difference is that each newsroom will have to account for that cost within its own operating budget.

Gannet laid off 200 people in August 2022 and announced it would not fill 200 open positions throughout the company.

In October 2022, the company announced it would suspend retirement plan contributions, require unpaid leave furloughs over the holiday season and offer buyouts to select employees.

The cuts are not unexpected, given that newspapers have been struggling with losing print readership and ad revenue for years now.

Attempts to monetize online content across the industry through paywalls and subscriber-only content have had mixed results, especially for local publications, and often don’t bring in the same amount of revenue that print subscription fees and ads historically did.

Increased competition from online-only publications, streaming, television and other media platforms have also hurt the industry hard.

Until 2015, Gannett also owned a string of TV stations across the country, but spun those off into a separate company called Tegna, which technically is the successor to the “old” Gannett. This was a common practice of mixed-media chains at the time.

Tegna is still in operation and the cuts at Gannett do not affect employees at those stations, though they too have seen reduced headcounts over the years.