News Journal, Daily Times part of Gannett staff cuts

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news journal 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.

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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.

Click here for previous stories on the News Journal

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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