USA Today owner Gannett Co., the biggest US newspaper chain, has announced plans to cut some 1,400 jobs at its local newspapers. A memo to employees said the cuts were necessary because of "difficult economic conditions."
AFP - USA Today owner Gannett Co., the biggest newspaper chain in the United States, announced plans on Wednesday to cut some 1,400 jobs at its local newspapers.
Robert Dickey, president of Gannett US Community Publishing, said in a memo to employees published by several Gannett papers that the cuts were necessary because of "difficult economic conditions and the impact on our advertisers."
He said "approximately 1,400" jobs, or three percent of the workforce, would be eliminated in the division that operates more than 80 local newspapers.
The cuts were not expected to affect Gannett flagship paper USA Today, the largest daily in the United States in terms of circulation.
Dickey said previous cost-cutting measures were "making a difference" but the company needed to "implement job reductions to align our resources with the revenue realities we face."
Dickey said the "vast majority" of the cuts will take place by July 9.
"Unfortunately, we must take these steps because the advertising environment remains challenged," he said. "There have been some promising signs of a recovery, but the reality is the improvements are not broad-based and the economy continues to be fragile."
Like other US newspapers, Gannett papers have been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.
Dickey said, however, that "measured against our peers in the media industry, we are healthy and capable of moving forward."
Gannett currently has some 41,500 employees after laying off about 10 percent of its workforce last year.
Gannett reported a nearly 60 percent plunge in net profit in the first three months of this year and a 34 percent slump in advertising revenue.
The McLean, Virginia-based Gannett publishes 84 daily newspapers and nearly 850 magazines and non-daily publications, and operates 23 television stations in the United States.
Its British subsidiary Newsquest publishes 17 daily newspapers and more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications.
Date created : 2009-07-02