January 25, 2017

Suprise! More layoffs at New Jersey newspapers after Gannett buyout


USA Today and Gannett headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

As we’ve written, in the newspaper industry, buyouts by Gannett Company, Inc. have become synonymous with job losses. Paper after paper across the country has seen layoffs after being acquired by Gannett, publisher of USA Today and dozens of local papers like the Indianapolis Star and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

If the latest news about layoffs at North Jersey Media Group is any indication, Gannett is doing its best to obscure the extent to which employees are suffering in the face of declining print ad revenues. As Fishbowl NY’s Richard Horgan noted, on Monday NJMG slipped the news that they are laying of 141 employees in an optimistic-sounding article about restructuring and new digital strategy across the brand. The Bergen County Record, the Passaic County Herald News, NorthJersey.com, the (201) magazine group, and a slew of weekly newspapers will apparently all be affected.

“North Jersey Media Group Buries the Lede” wrote Horgan of the article on“staffing changes” set to go into effect in the coming months. “We remain committed to transforming the North Jersey Media Group into a digital powerhouse in response to the unprecedented change sweeping throughout our industry,” NJMG’s president Nancy A. Meyer says in the paragraph preceding the number of cuts.

The article made no mention that NJMG had already slashed 426 jobs, 130 of those from newsrooms, two months after the Gannett buyout in July. Nor have executives at NJMG or Gannett explained how the shift from print to digital would somehow require significantly fewer reporters on the ground. Which means that employees at the former Tribune Publishing Company, now known as Tronc (ha!), should be heaving sighs of relief that Gannett’s bid to buy them out out fell through in November.



Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.