Day 3: Job losses near 1,800; Salinas whacks 31%

Gannett’s downsizing has now claimed 1,792 newspaper jobs, according to a new Gannett Blog reader tally that also brings this heart breaker: The Salinas Californian eliminated a whopping 31% of its 130 jobs — one of the biggest percentage losses yet.

But the final number of Gannett jobs lost is expected to be higher, because three of the biggest worksites haven’t disclosed figures: USA Today; the Detroit Free Press and affiliates, plus The Cincinnati Enquirer. Combined employment at those three is around 4,500 to 5,000. Excluding USAT and Detroit, Corporate now says total job reductions will be about 2,000.

In Salinas, General Manager Terry Feinberg was struggling to find something to say when he told his paper: “As difficult as this is, it does provide us with an opportunity to take a look at everything we do.”

The paper reports: “Layoffs started Tuesday and finished Wednesday, with 21 people losing their jobs immediately and another 14 positions to be cut over the next six to eight weeks. Four positions were removed through attrition, and one person took a voluntary buyout, for a total of 40 jobs eliminated.”

California is one of four states where Gannett markets were especially hard hit when the real estate bubble collapsed (the other three: Arizona, Florida and Nevada). Plus, the Californian‘s circulation tanked recently, Deutsche Bank says. It plunged 13.3%, to 14,240 as of Sept. 30, from 16,416 a year before.

We’ve now accounted for 65 of the 85 community dailies, plus USA Today. Is your paper included? Please add your numbers and links to stories on our list, or in the comments section, below. Or e-mail confidentially via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com].

[Image: yesterday’s front page, Newseum]

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