News Journal, Daily Times part of Gannett staff cuts
Reports indicate Gannett properties, The News Journal and Daily Times, Salisbury, MD were part of staff cuts ordered by parent Gannett Co.
Two positions were eliminated at the northern Delaware newspaper/website with the possibility that two vacant reporting slots will not be filled.
The Delaware Liberal blog reported that planning editor Jeff Gentry and watchdog editor Chris Coates lost their jobs.
Gentry wrote a popular column that focused on everyday people. The frequency of the column was sharply reduced after a previous restructuring.
Meanwhile, reporter James Fisher, who worked in Sussex County for the News Journal, took a newly created communications position at Delmarva Poultry Industry, a trade group based in Georgetown.
Ledford to head regional newsroom
News Journal Executive Editor David Ledford did not respond to an Email request for comment.
However, the Daily Times was more open about its changes, announcing that the News Journal’s Ledford would take over as editorial head of both properties as part of a reorganization. The Times announced that its executive editor and another staffer will depart.
With an editorial staff of slightly more than 40, the News Journal cuts and possibly unfilled positions could amount between eight and 10 percent of the editorial staff. It is not known if part-time or free-lance staff would be used to fill the gap.
The percentage of cuts is even higher if the written content side of the business is considered. The staff directory lists more than a half-dozen photographers, videographers and producers and a news/business news staff of about 15. Sports accounts for about a half a dozen positions, with features at four.
The directory has not been updated in a while, with at least one newly hired reporter not listed.
The News Journal and its DelawareOnline.com site have been long-time producers of video, with the strategy extending to online newscasts in the past.
There has been a continuing wave of cuts at the News Journal, which at one time had a newsroom of more than 80.
Job cuts have been going on for years
The most visible cutbacks came fairly recently when buyouts were offered to veteran news staffers. The moves left the News Journal without many of the familiar bylines. Few new hires were made, after the buyouts.
At one point, all staffers were required to re-apply for jobs.
The newspaper industry continues to see declines in display and classified advertising. Once lucrative categories, such as help wanted ads, virtually disappeared,
Gannett is also said to be prepping for the acquisition of Tronc the former Tribune Co. Late word from Politico is that the deal is on hold.
If a deal is consummated, the company would add the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times to its stable. An acquisition would likely be accompanied by staff cuts.
Earlier, the company acquired newspapers in northern New Jersey and cut 200 employees.
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