Connell to E&P: Cuts will wipe out 2,000 jobs

Gannett now expects to eliminate about 2,000 jobs in the community newspaper division alone, says a new Editor & Publisher story that suggests the final tally may be higher, once two of the biggest sites outside the division — USA Today and Detroit — reveal their plans.

The trade publication quotes spokeswoman Tara Connell, who rarely communicates with Gannett Blog. Previously, Connell had said only that the number of jobs cut would be “significantly less” than 3,000. Corporate had set a goal of reducing employment 10% in the 30,000-employee community newspaper division. Late this morning, the number of jobs eliminated had already reached nearly 1,800 at 65 of 85 papers, according to a running tally by Gannett Blog readers.

Until now, Corporate did not know how many jobs were being eliminated, Connell says, because individual papers decided which cuts to make. “We said that it was going to be locally decided and locally managed and that is exactly what happened,” Connell told E&P.

Wiggle room alert
Connell’s 2,000-job estimate doesn’t include USA Today or the mysteriously quiet Detroit Free Press. Combined, the two employ 3,500 to 4,000, and are managed outside the community newspaper division. The Freep and the Gannett-controlled Detroit Media Partnership joint operating agency have not revealed any layoff plans. USAT has said only that it expects to eliminate 20 newsroom jobs; many more cuts are likely from other departments. Stay tuned.

Connell told E&P that all of the cuts are keeping with the company’s mandate to keep expenses tied to revenue: “Hopefully,” she said, “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 the community newspaper division are likely to be affected as well: “There have been and will continue to be layoffs throughout the company.”

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[Image: today’s front page, Newseum]

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