The largest newspaper chain in the US has cut 400 members of staff.
Gannet owns more than 200 publications around the US but has now laid off around three percent of its workforce.
Gannett CEO Mike Reed confirmed the job losses in a company-wide Q&A session on Wednesday, August 31.
The company had announced a round of layoffs in mid-August but had remained silent on the numbers until Reed’s announcement.
Although employees and reporters had repeatedly requested information about the scope of the layoffs, Gannett had refused to provide it until now.
CFO Doug Horne, who was also in attendance at the meeting, informed employees that, in addition to the layoffs, Gannett would not fill 400 open positions.
According to executives, the company cut its marketing budget and other non-payroll costs.
Gannett also reduced its executive team from ten to seven members as part of a June restructuring.
Lark-Marie Anton, a spokesperson, confirmed the announcements but declined to comment further on the meeting.
She did not respond to questions about who was affected by the layoffs or whether Gannett plans to make more cuts in the near future.
The layoffs began just a week after the company announced a $54 million loss on $749 million in revenue during the second quarter.
Following the announcement, Gannett Media president Maribel Perez Wadsworth informed employees that the company would make “necessary but painful staffing reductions.”
It is unknown how many of the 400 layoffs were journalists, as well as which newspapers and departments were affected.
Poynter, which has been tracking the layoffs, has discovered at least 68 affected newsrooms, including USA Today’s flagship paper.
The vast majority of the more than 100 layoffs tracked by Poynter affected non-union newsrooms and staff.
Unionized newsrooms currently under contract with Gannett were most likely protected from layoffs under federal labour law.
A number of executive editors were laid off, as well as journalists who worked with multiple newsrooms.
Non-editorial staff was also affected, including employees who worked in administrative positions and customer service.
Some of the journalists who were laid off were among the last reporters left in their newsrooms.
Gannett executives at the meeting did not provide detailed information about which positions and publications were hit hardest by the layoffs.
Iowa Public Radio previously reported that the regional editor in the Plains Region told her staff that she was instructed to protect larger metro papers, leading to cuts at smaller publications.
Asked if Gannett was committed to its small and medium-sized publications, Wadsworth said at Wednesday’s meeting that local journalism has never been more important and that in order to have strong journalism, the company also had to have a strong business, according to two attendees.
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In the days leading up to the layoffs, the Gannett section of the NewsGuild union, which represents 1,500 journalists across more than 50 newsrooms, called on the company to reduce executive pay instead of cutting jobs.
It drew attention to the fact that Reed had been paid $7.7 million in 2021 while Gannett’s median salary was $48,419. Reed had also bought $1.2 million worth of Gannett stock, or 500,000 shares, immediately before the layoffs.