Starting April 1, American Media Inc. is cutting the salaries of its staff by 23%, according to a staff memo from CEO David Pecker obtained by multiple media outlets.
“I am afraid the stark realities created by this global pandemic are taking a significant toll on our businesses,” Pecker wrote, referring to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
He assured staff this reduction in pay “will not cause an employee’s compensation to fall below the applicable minimum wage for the city/state in which the employee resides.”
Pecker added: “This is not a decision we have come to easily, however, this allows us to avoid layoffs during this time and ensure that all maintain their position and benefits throughout this crisis.”
Pecker said he has taken “significant decreases” in his own salary since January, “when the first signs of the crisis began.”
AMI titles include National Enquirer (currently undergoing a sale), Radar Online, Star, OK!, In Touch, Closer, Life & Style, Examiner, Globe and US Weekly.
Pecker said the company has suffered from declining newsstand sales, advertisers cutting their spending and the postponement of a number of events.
“As a result,” Pecker continued, “the company is seeing a sudden loss of millions of dollars in the near term.”
Gannett is also cutting employees’ pay.
Reporters and editors who earn more than $38,000 annually will be scheduled to take an unpaid week off on a rotating basis, according to a memo obtained by Poynter from Maribel Wadsworth, president of the USA Today Network at Gannett and publisher of USA Today.
Executives will take a 25% pay reduction, according to a separate memo from Gannett CEO Paul Bascobert. Bascobert will take no pay until the furloughs and pay reductions have been reversed.
Though “direct sold advertising has already slowed and many businesses have paused their scheduled marketing campaigns,” Gannett is seeing “a spike in our digital traffic and online subscriptions as readers turn to us as a trusted source for information,” Bascobert wrote.
“Overall, though, we expect our revenue to decline considerably during this period, and we need to address this situation head on,” he added.
Publishers Dailyreported last week that Future Media Group’s fashion-focused magazine W has furloughed its staff as a result of the COVID-19 virus. BuzzFeed announced a salary reduction for most employees for the months of April and May, ranging from 5% to 10% for staff, and 14% to 25% for executives.
Conversely, Time, pledged over the weekend that no layoffs will take place for 90 days.
“We will also continue to ensure our hourly workers are paid while our offices are closed,” tweeted editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal.