News Journal, other Gannett staffers ordered to take unpaid time off during coronavirus crisis


News Journal and Daily Times owner Gannett is making cuts that will further reduce reporting resources during the coronavirus crisis.

The Poynter site reported that Gannett ordered that a large chunk of staffers will be required to temporarily take unpaid leave each month with executives getting pay cuts.

Earlier, Newark Post and Cecil Whig owner Adams Publishing Group made a similar move at its 100 weeklies and dailies.

Furloughs have been used before in the newspaper industry during the 2009 financial crisis.

This time around, news staffs are far smaller, due to a continuing wave of cutbacks that led most veteran reporters to retire or move on.. And unlike the 2009 downturn, a large number of retail customers are closed under government orders and generate negligible sales.

In the case of Gannett in Delaware, the company is integrating Gatehouse weekly papers (formerly Dover Post)  in all three counties that came along with the recent merger of the two companies.

Those papers, never heavily staffed,  operate with tiny staffs that were the result of previous cuts by Gatehouse prior to the Gannett mergers.

The merger of the two companies was also financed by loan with a 11.5 percent high-interest-rate debt that will hobble the company in a recession.

The pain extends to radio, with Delaware news and talk station WDEL reportedly giving ten or so employees their walking papers, including on-air personalities Allan Loudell and Robin Bryson. The cuts were reported by The News Journal.

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