Here’s what we know so far about the layoffs at Gannett

We still don't have numbers, but we're starting to add names

April 29, 2020 and

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include more publicly announced layoffs. We’ll continue updating as we see them. It was last updated May 14. 

Three days after first reporting layoffs at Gannett newspapers around the country, we still don’t yet have a clear picture of how many people and positions were affected.

Without official word from Gannett or the newspapers impacted about numbers, we’re including each layoff that’s been reported by affected journalists on social media or otherwise reported elsewhere.

Gannett merged with GateHouse in late 2019 to become the largest newspaper chain in the U.S. with 261 newspapers in 46 states.

As we reported previously, it’s unclear if the layoffs are in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus or the result of the merger with Gatehouse, though one source told Poynter the cuts relate to the GateHouse/Gannett integration. Gannett executives told The New York Times in November that they would look for “efficiencies” after the merger.

The layoffs add to an already-shrinking industry. On April 20, Elizabeth Grieco reported for Pew Research Center that newspapers in the U.S. have lost half their newsroom employees since 2008. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, national and local newsrooms of all kinds have been hit by furloughs, layoffs and closures.

Here’s what we’ve collected so far. What are we missing? Please let us know.

Alabama

Edwin Stanton, executive sports editor at the Tuscaloosa News, tweeted, “Friday is my final day with The Tuscaloosa News as I have been laid off. It’s been an honor to work with the most talented group of people in this profession for the past 14 years. It’s also been a privilege writing about the fantastic people of this community. God bless.”

Poynter learned that three people were laid off from The Gadsden Times.

Arkansas

Kevin Taylor, a sports reporter at the Fort Smith Times Record, told readers goodbye in a column. “I can’t say I was ready to quit writing feature stories. But at the same time, I did have seven days to hit the pavement this week before turning over my key pass Friday.”

California

Gabrielle Canon, a reporter with the Palm Springs Desert Sun, tweeted “Some personal news—I got my first sunburn of the year. Side effect of laying in the backyard staring at the sky for an hour after getting laid off. Oh, also, I got laid off. Sooo if you have any leads on job opportunities for this shorts-tan sporting journalist, send ‘em my way.”

Colorado

The Pueblo Chieftain laid off six staffers, according to Austin J. White, a sports reporter at the Chieftain. White tweeted, “The layoffs coming down from @Gannett are hurting @ChieftainNews today. We lost a news reporter and two other newsroom employees that were a part of management. Three clerks were also let go today #LocalNewsMatters.”

Brooklyn Dance, a reporter for the Coloradoan, tweeted, “I was laid off from the Coloradoan on Friday. I loved my job and I love the responsibility of informing the community, and it feels so backwards to have to stop during a pandemic. Journalism matters so much.”

Connecticut

Jared Todd at The Laurel reported that Jim Konrad, executive editor of The (Norwich) Bulletin, was laid off.

Delaware

Poynter learned an editor was laid off at the Delaware News Journal.

Georgia

Susan Catron, executive editor of the Savannah Morning News, told readers Thursday, April 30, was her last day. “So, as I leave, I ask a few things from you: Please support local news. Support local reporting. Be willing to pay for credible information that will benefit you.”

Illinois

Poynter learned one person was laid off at The Register-Mail in Galesburg, Illinois.

Indiana

Indiana Public Media reported that Bloomington Herald-Times senior executive editor Rich Jackson was laid off. “Jackson posted on Facebook Friday afternoon that he also had to vacate an apartment in The Herald-Times building on South Walnut Street where he had been living by noon on May 1. Jackson had been editor of The Herald-Times for 10 months. Jackson has started a blog about his experience and says he is now homeless.”

Patrick Beane, sports editor at the Bloomington Herald-Times, tweeted, “Well, here it is, my final @theheraldtimes sports front page. After 30 years at the HT (to the month), I was let go this week in a nation-wide purge of folks at my level by Gannett.”

Iowa

Daniel P. Finney, a columnist with The Des Moines Register, tweeted, “I stacked my final paragraphs as a storyteller for the Des Moines Register. My job was cut effective May 1 as part of corporate synergies. I loved being a newsman and I loved writing for Register readers. Behave and be kind, capital city. Especially, be kind. — 30 —”

Zachary Oren Smith, a reporter with the Iowa Press-Citizen, tweeted about a layoff in that newsroom:  “Effective Monday, the Press-Citizen’s editor Tory Brecht was laid off, one of many cuts across our company as Gatehouse-Gannett’s mid-merger search for $300 million leads them into the newsroom.” Brecht later tweeted, “2 years ago, I waded back into the challenged newspaper industry with the goal of making Iowa City’s paper locally-focused and stronger. We did good work, mostly thanks to my staff. However, the position of News Director in IC was 1 of many across Gannett cut this week.” Oren Smith continued: “Our staff was told the Gannett paper in Ames, the Ames Tribune, also lost its editor. Leadership said the two papers will answer to a single editor (TBD) with an office at the Des Moines Register.”

Kentucky

Jesse Hazel, a developer at the Louisville Courier-Journal, tweeted, “So today is my last day at @courierjournal. For almost 7 years now, I’ve had the privilege to share the stage with some of the most talented journalists. It’s been a real honor and I will certainly miss it.”

Louisiana

The (Monroe, Louisiana) photographer Nicolas Galindo tweeted, “With Friday being my last day before being laid-off from @Gannett, needed to take some time to update my resume. DMs are open for any critiques & feedback during this transition. Thanks so much!”

Massachusetts

Matthew Roy, night editor with Gardner News, tweeted, “A late night news drop. Tomorrow will be my final day as Night Editor for @gardner_news thanks to layoffs that have hit the company nationwide. It’s been a nice run in Gardner. Anyone need a free agent sports writer?”

Ian Donnis reported for The Public’s Radio that four positions were cut at The Herald News and at least two positions (inclulding one listed below) from The Standard-Times.

Kris Olson, a reporter with Massachusettes Lawyers Weekly, tweeted that journalist Dan Mac Alpine, who worked for weeklies north of Boston with Wicked Local, was laid off: “He’s not on Twitter, but big cap tip to former colleague Dan Mac Alpine, 30-plus-year local news vet whose last day is today, not by choice. Back in 2013, he nearly died in bike accident (link) but fought like hell to get back to work. He deserved better.”

Beth Perdue, a regional engagement editor at The (New Bedford) Standard-Times, tweeted, “It’s been a good 20 years, but I need to let you all know that today is my last day with Gannett / The Standard-Times. I was laid off last week and as of 5 p.m. will officially join the ranks of former journalists.”

Susan Pawlak-Seaman, a night/education editor at The Standard-Times, tweeted, “Had feeling this day would come, just wasn’t sure when. Officially, it’s May 1, but April 24, 2020 learned my position at The Standard-Times is being eliminated. Please know I am not bitter or angry. If anything, am grateful for 45 great years doing job I love in place I love!”

Don Seiffert, managing editor of the Boston Business Journal, reported at least nine layoffs in the state. “Papers that saw cuts include The Cape Cod Times, The Standard-Times in New Bedford and The Worcester Telegram and Gazette. While some of those journalists who were cut, such as Cape Cod Times film critic and features editor Tim Miller and Standard-Times columnist Susan Pawlak-Seaman, had been with the company for decades, others — like Telegram & Gazette photographer Ashley Green — were relative newcomers.”

Missouri

Nathan Papes, a staff photojournalist at the Springfield News-Leader, tweeted, “After more than 10 year at the News-Leader today I was laid off. My official last day is next Friday. It’s been a fun ride Springfield.”

But an hour later, the Springfield News Guild published a release that said Papes’ layoff, as well as that of another News-Leader employee, had been unlawful.

“On Friday Morning, Gannett attempted to illegally lay off two of our members,” the release said. “When we became aware of this action, we notified Gannett that its decision violated our status quo protections under federal law and would not stand. Minutes later, Gannett informed our members they were no longer laid off.”

Papes later tweeted, “A few hours after being told I was laid off I received a phone call saying I was laid off in error and I still have a job. I still haven’t received an explanation as to how this error occurred or an apology.”

North Carolina

Poynter has learned that a photojournalist and a columnist were laid off from The Fayetteville Observer.

New Jersey

David Wildstein reported for the New Jersey Globe that Asbury Park Press editorial page editor Randy Bergmann had been laid off. “Bergmann’s name has already been removed from the Asbury Park Press’ online masthead.” Bergmann shared his news on Facebook, including this: “As my time with the Asbury Park Press comes to an end, I want to pay tribute to all the talented, dedicated journalists, many of whom continue to populate the APP newsroom. Their mission is a noble, often underappreciated one. I’m not certain where the next chapter in my life will lead me, but I feel fortunate to have worked with so many people seeking to make this a better world.”

Poynter learned a total of eight people were laid off from the Bergen Record. Those who announced it publicly include:

Megan Burrow, a reporter at the Record, tweeted, “Today’s my last day at TheRecord/northjersey.com. It’s a strange experience to be laid off while working remotely and not have a chance to really say goodbye to coworkers, but I’m grateful I got the chance to work with so many talented people over the past 12 years.”

Abbey Mastracco, NHL and MLB writer at the Record, tweeted, “I was laid off from The Record yesterday. To my knowledge, I was the only sports writer laid off. I have a lot I want to say about the industry and I’ll say it at some point but for now, here is the last story I wrote.”

Bruce Lowry, a columnist and opinion editor at the Record, tweeted, “Regretfully, I’ve been informed today is my last day at #TheRecord and @northjersey. Thanks to all my swell colleagues over the years and to all the readers, and all the folks in #NorthJersey community who kept me going these last 15 years. I’ve enjoyed every minute.”

Jennifer Jean Miller, a reporter at the New Jersey Herald, tweeted, “Thank you @traceytully who is with @nytimes. She has been supportive of me and local journalism…and my stories about Andover Subacute. Yes, I was one of the layoffs at Gannett. I am so appreciative of her support.”

Matt Bove, a sports reporter at the New Jersey Herald, tweeted, “Unfortunately, I was one of the new Gannett layoffs yesterday. Thank you to all the local athletes, coaches, ADs and fans who made this such a great job. As someone who grew up in Sussex County, I immensely enjoyed getting to tell your stories.”

Viorel Florescu, a photographer at Gannett’s New Jersey publications, posted on Facebook, “About two hours ago I received a phone call and I was told that today is my last day with Gannett !!! It was a good run! Moving on.”

David Isaac, a sports reporter at the Courier-Post, tweeted, “Today I was laid off by Gannett after eight years at the Courier Post. I’m proud of the work I did and that my (now former) colleagues continue to do. A heartfelt thank you to those who trusted me to tell their stories as well as everyone who read them.”

New Mexico

Sam Ribakoff, a reporter with the Farmington Daily Times, tweeted, “I also was laid off from my job as a reporter for Gannett because of the Gannett/Gatehouse merger. Today was my last day at The Daily Times. Journalist friends, if you got any leads on gigs, let me know.”

New York

Leo Roth, a sports reporter and columnist for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, wrote about his last day for the paper. ” Today, a “– 30 –” has been placed on my 41-year career covering sports — with a few medical, fishing and cops stories thrown in — working for newspapers in northeast Ohio and western New York. I had to remove my shoes and socks to count, but 37 of those years have been spent here in Rochester with Gannett’s Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle.”

Steve Bradley, a content strategist at the Democrat & Chronicle, wrote about his last day there, too. “Journalism professors and editors have been telling writers not to “bury the lead” for decades, so I won’t. Today is my last day at the Democrat and Chronicle. I have typed thousands of words during my 21 years working for the D&C, and those 10 are some of the most difficult.”

North Carolina

Bob Sutton, sports editor of the Burlington Times-News, was laid off, according to a tweet from SportsChannel8 reporter R.L. Bynum. Bynum tweeted, “Among the journalists who Gannett has laid off is Bob Sutton, who has been the sports editor of the Times-News of Burlington for nearly 25 years. His last day is May 1. A fixture on the ACC, Canes, minor-league baseball and prep beats, nobody ever works harder and longer hours.”

Brandy Beard, a reporter at the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, North Carolina, tweeted: “Gannett is doing another round of layoffs, me included.“

At the Hendersonville Times-News, Dan Hensley wrote about four colleagues who were laid off. “Four were pillars to the Times-News: Chief Photographer Patrick Sullivan, former Times-News Sports Editor Bob Dalton, former Times-News Page Designer Dan Sullivan and Mike Smith, who was executive editor of both the Times-News and Spartanburg Herald-Journal for several years.”

At the Sun Journal in New Bern, sports writer Jordan Honeycutt tweeted, “Since it’s already out there, I feel like I need to say that today was a rough one. My position was eliminated at the Sun Journal…”

Oklahoma

Daisy Creager, a reporter with the Journal Record, a business publication in Oklahoma City, tweeted, “Sad to say I was laid off from @JournalRecord yesterday, my last day is May 15. It’s been a great 2 years and I got to do things I never thought I would.”

Abby Bitterman, a reporter with The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman, tweeted, ” This morning I got laid off from The Oklahoman. My last day will be next Friday. I’m so grateful for my time at The Oklahoman. I loved covering high schools and OU, and I learned so much from the people I worked with. Sadly, it’s coming to an end.”

Poynter has learned two other people were laid off from The Oklahoman, a photojournalist and a sports reporter.

Oregon

The (Eugene) Register-Guard announced the “elimination of certain jobs, including the role of executive editor.” Eugene Weekly followed up: “In other words, it appears that while reporters, photographers and some editing remain local, the paper will be led by an editor in Salem.”

Pennsylvania

Pat Bywater, managing editor at the Erie Times-News, tweeted, “Friday’s my last day at the Times-News. Some context from @Poynter at the link.”

Rhode Island

Ian Donnis reported for The Public’s Radio that the Providence Journal’s editorial page editor Ed Achorn was laid off.

Kevin McNamara, a columnist at the Providence Journal, tweeted, “Some personal news: After 30+ years this is my last week @ProJo. Thank you to my bosses/comrades, plus all the coaches and athletes who’ve made the job (mostly) a dream come true. Welcome opportunity to explore different challenges, some sporting, some not. Stay safe & healthy.”

Gail Ciampa, food editor and restaurant critic for the Providence Journal, tweeted about the layoff of the newsroom’s assistant, Janet Butler, “The heart of our newsroom was laid off today. Janet Butler was retiring in Sept after 51 years. She compiled food notes, fundraisers, people in business and other columns. Janet Butler has worked behind the scenes for 50 years.”

South Carolina

Poynter has learned three people were laid off – two reporters and a photographer – from the Greenville News.

Mike G. Smith, executive editor of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, and Bob Dalton, sports editor at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, were laid off. Todd Shanesy, a sports reporter at the Herald-Journal, tweeted, “Sad, sad time for the Spartanburg area. Gannett layoffs included four great ones in the Herald-Journal newsroom, including the best-ever executive editor in @MikeGSmith and now the best sports editor/managing editor Bob Dalton. Huge losses for our company and community.”

South Dakota

Robb Garofalo, a sports reporter with Aberdeen American News, tweeted, “Well, admittedly, it’s taken a few days to wrap my head around things, however I am sad to say that in this report. I am one of the “thousand cuts” via the hands of @Gannett in its latest round of lay offs.”

Tennessee

Courtney Pedroza, a photojournalist at The (Nashville) Tennessean, tweeted, “I was laid off by the Tennessean & Gannett. I’ll miss working with a talented staff. After March’s tornado took my home, they rallied around me. I’m grateful for my time here & friends. Thank you all. Editors, please keep me in mind for any jobs / freelance work.”

Maurice Patton, sports editor at the Columbia Daily Herald, tweeted, “Throw another log on the ‘unemployed sports journalists courtesy of Gannett’ fire. Effective immediately, I am no longer sports editor at The Daily Herald. Thanks to the athletes/coaches/admins of the programs I’ve been able to cover in and around MauryCo for the past 3.5 years.”

Chris Yow, managing editor of the Advertiser News in Spring Hill, tweeted, “Just received the news that my position with @AdvertiserNews has been eliminated. My last day in Spring Hill will be May 1. It has been a pleasure to share your stories for the last (almost) three years. Thank you all.” Yow also tweeted about other layoffs in his newsroom: “We had one additional layoff in the editorial department and at least two in circulation.”

Nolan Beilstein, a sports reporter with Bluffton Today, tweeted,” “**Free agent on the market** May 1 will mark my last day as Sports Reporter of the Bluffton Today. I was notified this afternoon by Gannett, the largest newspaper company in the nation, my position will be eliminated as a result of its merging with GateHouse Media.”

Texas

The Austin American-Statesman had seven layoffs, according to Austonia, a local site in Austin. Editorial advisor Richard Oppel, who wrote the piece, was editor of the American-Statesman until 2008. Oppel reports the following layoffs:

  • Arianna Auber, columnist
  • Joe Gross, pop culture, film and literature reporter
  • James Gregg, photojournalist and deputy director of video and photo
  • Suzanne Halliburton, a sports reporter
  • Mike Parker, editor of two community newspapers, the Round Rock Leader and Pflugerville Pflag
  • Nick Wagner, photojournalist
  • Aaricka Washington, education reporter

USA Today

Robin Amer, host and creator of USA Today’s The City Podcast, tweeted, “A time of beginnings and a time of endings. USA Today has ended @thecitypod and I’ve been laid off. This is our last episode, at least for now. My last day at the company will be May 1.”

Poynter learned of an internal email noting layoffs at the Design Center, which combined Gannett Design Studio and GateHouse Center for News & Design. It doesn’t say how many people lost their jobs.

Poynter has learned that BridgeTower Media, Gannett’s B2B company, had several layoffs, including: a reporter, an ad rep, a research assistant and an account manager.

Portions of this story originally appeared in our initial coverage Friday.

Kristen Hare covers the transformation of local news for Poynter.org and writes a weekly newsletter on the transformation of local news. You can subscribe here. Kristen can be reached at khare@poynter.org or on Twitter at @kristenhare.

Ren LaForme is Poynter’s interim managing editor and digital tools reporter. He can be reached at ren@poynter.org or on Twitter at @itsren.

Correction: We put Tuscaloosa in Florida instead of Alabama, for which we apologize. Also, we bungled the last names of Ashley Green and Gabrielle Canon, for which we also apologize. All have been corrected.