It’s becoming a grim holiday tradition. With the end of the year looming and third-quarter results coming in, the halls of many a newspaper publisher are echoing with the all-too-familiar sound of axes swinging (figuratively, of course), as top brass look to reduce costs with new rounds of layoffs.
This week, Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, announced plans to lay off roughly 350 employees, or around 2% of its total workforce of about 18,700.
The layoffs are companywide and include staff at the company’s corporate headquarters, as well as its flagship national newspaper USA Today and over 100 local publications.
The company cited continuing declines in print advertising and the need to shore up the bottom line as it continues its sometimes-painful transition into a primarily digital media company.
Gannett president and CEO Bob Dickey explained in a memo to employees announcing the cuts: “These moves are central to our transformation into a leading, next-generation media company. The positive impact of these efforts will take time, which in the near-term requires us to assertively manage our costs.
Looking ahead, Dickey wrote: “Over the next 18 months, we will continue to build our scale and invest in important digital capabilities and experiences — such as critical e-commerce infrastructure and significant upgrades to our digital content platforms.”
As noted, Gannett is hardly alone in cutting its headcount as the year winds down.
Last week Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker announced in a memo Friday that the publisher is seeking “a substantial number” of buyouts to limit the number of layoffs it will otherwise have to make. WSJ sibling Barron’s is also preparing for layoffs, according to an email mistakenly sent to employees last week.
The New York Times revealed that around 80 employees had recently accepted voluntary buyouts.