Less than two weeks after its second-quarter earnings report revealed an ongoing struggle for its publishing segment, Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI) has begun trimming staff at local newspapers across the country.
The country’s largest newspaper publisher by circulation and owner of USA Today is cutting newspaper jobs in Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio, New Jersey, Des Moines, Tennessee and elsewhere.
The exact number of layoffs remains unclear. On Friday morning, Gannett Blog reported that the number of job eliminations could be as high as 223, many coming from the company’s U.S. Community Publishing newspaper division. The blog is authored by Jim Hopkins, a former USA Today editor who has been posting insider information about Gannett since 2007. Hopkins writes that most of the layoffs took place over the past 48 hours.
Jeremy Gaines, Gannett’s VP of corporate communications, declined to confirm Hopkins’ tally and said that the company isn't releasing any numbers. However, he did confirm that the reductions are taking place. “Some of our community publishing sites are making cuts to align their business plans with local market conditions,” he said in an emailed statement.
In the meantime, Hopkins posted a Google spreadsheet detailing the number of laid off staffers and their locations. Affected publications reportedly include the Asbury Park Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Tennessean, Burlington Free Press, the Indianapolis Star, the Des Moines Register and the Arizona Republic. Some of the layoffs have been confirmed locally.
Media blogger Jim Romenesko has also been keeping a tally of affected staffers and publications, including posting a story from a laid off Tennessean reporter who was working on a scoop about Jack White’s divorce when he heard the news, prompting him to run the story across the street to the Nashville City Paper.
In its quarterly earnings report last month, Gannett posted a 21 percent decline in operating income, despite revenue growth for its broadcast and digital segments. While circulation revenue for Gannett’s publishing segment rose 7 percent, advertising fell 5 percent. Operating income for the segment fell 18.3 percent, while operating cash flow fell 15.5 percent.