By Dan Kennedy
When Gannett imposed devastating cuts last month, we had no way of knowing how devastating. It was clear that journalists had been laid off and papers closed across the country, but our largest newspaper chain kept the details to itself.
Now we know. Angela Fu, writing for Poynter Online, reports that Gannett laid off 400 employees and won’t fill another 400 open positions. Altogether, that’s about 6% of the money-losing company’s workforce, although Fu noted that the company did not provide details on how many of those cuts were on the news side and how many on the business side.
There’s also this nugget, referring to remarks by Gannett Media president Maribel Perez Wadsworth:
Asked if Gannett was committed to its small and medium-sized publications, Wadsworth said at Wednesday’s meeting that local journalism has never been more important and that in order to have strong journalism, the company also had to have a strong business, according to two attendees.
Yes, local journalism is so important to Gannett that the company keeps cutting it, over and over again. Here in Eastern Massachusetts, where Gannett closed or merged a couple of dozen weekly papers over the past year and all but abandoned local news, we’re seeing a flowering of independent projects to fill the gap. The opportunity is there, but Gannett just isn’t interested in it anymore.