Gannett Staff Holds A Virtual Protest Rally

Reporters from unionized Gannett newsrooms staged a virtual rally on Wednesday night to protest recent staff cuts and other actions that they say are destroying local news. 

Almost 200 people signed in for the event. 

Reporters spoke about the decimation of newsroom staffs, and wages so low that journalists cannot afford to live in the cities they cover.  

Democracy is being undermined by the gutting of local newsrooms, they contended. 

Economist Tony Daley examined what he called other side of  the Town Halls conducted by Gannett. The firm has “massively cut employees while going into debt and bleeding money. but doles out tens of millions to top executives and bribes its shareholders,” he said.  

Since Q1 of 2001, Gannett has shrunk 30% while Lee Enterprises has gained 46%, the New York Times 39% and News Corp. 35%, he continued. Yet Gannett remains the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. And it is rigorously paying down its debt, even while it cuts newsroom staffs. “This is the tradeoff Mr. Reed has made,” Daley added, citing CEO Mike Reed.



He implied that the company is servicing its debt on the backs of newsrooms. 

New York State Senator James Skoufis, a democrat who represents Orange County in the Hudson Valley, noted that the local paper, the Times Herald Record, once had a robust staff but now has only three or four reporters left standing. Ten years ago, “every single page was local news,” he said. And now: “90% is AP, wire stories, not local.”

He continued that “Gannett is basically a holding company,” out to cut expenses and make money. 

One journalist spoke of the painful decision to raid her daughter’s college account to pay for her needed medication. And one spoke of knowing 50 people who had been laid off. 

Another reporter argued that journalists are entitled to a middle class life. “We shouldn’t be so threadbare that sources talk to us like we’re chumps,” he said. “Your shirt needs to be dry.cleaned if you’re interviewing the mayor.”

1 comment about "Gannett Staff Holds A Virtual Protest Rally".
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  1. T Bo from Wordpress, October 7, 2022 at 7:25 a.m.

    True enough about the news budgets, but those "bribed" shareholders have seen the price of their stock drop 75% in the last year.

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