The News Journal/Delaware Online operation ofpublishing giant Gannett has terminated three staff members.
Two photographer/videographer positions and one editor were given their walking papers. They were identified by multiple sources asphotographers Jason Minto and Suchat Pederson and editor Jaci Smith.
The News Journal/DelawareOnline has maintained a sizable presence on the video-digital side as a way to increase online traffic.
Job cuts were also reported at other Gannett properties around the nation that included flagship papers like the Arizona Republic and Indianapolis Star and the loss of editorial cartoonists.
The cuts amount to about nine percent of total staff, which at one point totaled more than 80,but is now down to about three dozen.
A Gannett corporate edict a few years earlier eliminated business news departments at all papers, including metro dailies.
25 years in the industry and it’s over after a 10-minute chat in a sterile conference room. My heart aches for journalism and all my fellow #gannett colleagues who were laid off today. #journalismmatters
— Jaci Smith (@DelawareJaci) January 23, 2019
The most painful cuts for readers came during a buyout program a few years ago that was accepted by a large number of longtime reporters and editors. The departing staffers were not replaced in many cases or the positions were filled by younger, less experienced reporters earning smaller paychecks
The move resultedin a loss in institutional memory and sources within the tight-knit political, legal and business establishment in Delaware.
In addition, copy desk and design positions have reportedly been moved from Delaware to hubs at other Gannett properties.
Gannett is facing a takeover battle with MNG, the hedge fund owner of Digital First, the nation’s largest newspaper chain. Digital First has become well known for slashing expenses and positions beyond the stance taken by aggressive cost-cutters like Gannett.
In making an offer for Gannett, the company criticized top management for failing to produce solid earnings. A release went on to suggest that Gannett halt efforts to acquire digital media operations.
Gannett has been focusing on digital. Reporters are monitored for online traffic generated by their stories.
The job cuts at the News Journal come during a wave of firingsat digital news companies,including Verizon (Yahoo, Huffington Post etc.) and Buzzfeed.
Mike Feeley, executive editor of the News Journalreferred inquiries to Gannett’s corporate communications department. The department did not respond to requests here and elsewhere.
Feeley, who joined the News Journal last year after working as a member of the Pennsylvania team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the scandal involving Penn State football, has vowed to continue investigative reporting.