With revenues down, Gannett cuts staff

Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today, will lay off 10% of its staff by the first week of December.

The cuts will affect Gannett’s local papers, where each publisher will be in charge of final layoff decisions. Gannett pointed to the economy and its own slumping revenues as reasons for the cutback. Publishing operating revenues for the company were down 14.4% in the third quarter, compared to last year, and third quarter income for the company dropped 32.5%, to $158 million.

“As all of you are painfully aware, the fiscal crisis is deepening and the economy is getting worse,” read a message to employees from Gannett president Robert Dickey. “Gannett’s revenues continue to be severely impacted by this downturn, and our local operations are suffering. While we are doing our best to reduce all non staff-related expenses, I am sorry to report that we must do another round of layoffs across our division.”

Terms of severance are one week per year of service to the company, capped at 26 weeks. Publishers are expected to submit their reduction plans by November 14.

Gannett previously announced a round of layoffs in mid-August. At that time, 1,000 jobs, or 3% of the work force, were cut — 600 through layoffs and 400 through attrition and hiring freezes. As with this round, the cuts affected local papers, such as The Arizona Republic and the Detroit Free Press, but not flagship USA Today.

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