Gannett to cut 1,000 jobs at community newspapers
, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of the Honolulu Advertiser, plans to eliminate about 1,000 positions at its U.S. community newspapers as advertising sales continue to decline.
The cuts, equaling 3 percent of the work force at the newspapers, may result in about 600 firings after some positions are eliminated through resignations and retirements, Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell said yesterday in a phone interview.
"Tough business conditions" led to the decision, Connell said. Positions aren't being cut at USA Today, the biggest U.S. newspaper by circulation, she said. Last month, the company reported a 16 percent drop in June ad sales at its publications, including a 27 percent drop at USA Today.
Advertiser Publisher and President Lee Webber did not respond to a Star-Bulletin request.
According to a staffwide e-mail Webber issued hours after the layoff news broke on the East Coast, he assured employees that "no one at the Advertiser will be directly affected by this new round of reductions."
He ended the paragraph by saying, "I wish I could tell you this will be the end of it, but that is not possible, given the current state of the economy and the newspaper publishing industry."
The thousand-position cut is separate from the paper's recent local layoffs of up to 54 people, according to Connell, vice president of corporate communications for the McLean, Va.-based company.
"Each unit has been told to bring revenues in line with expenses," she said. "What they have to do depends on previous reductions and the unit's financial performance. Reductions will be made "with input from division."
Decisions at the local level are expected to be reviewed and approved by Gannett corporate, according to industry publication Editor & Publisher.
Fired employees are to receive severance at the rate of one week per year of service, to a maximum of 52 weeks, with medical coverage during the severance period, E&P reported.
Star-Bulletin reporter Erika Engle contributed to this story.