August 13, 2019

Last week, GateHouse and Gannett announced their intent to merge and form the largest newspaper chain in the country, a consolidation designed to save money. When the move was announced, there was a fear among many in the industry that layoffs would follow.

GateHouse started making cuts this week at at least four papers, but it’s unknown if these cuts have anything to do with the potential merger or are more tied to disappointing quarterly results at New Media, which owns GateHouse. These layoffs come less than three months after GateHouse laid off several dozen journalists at newspapers all across the country.

One of the newsrooms hardest hit by the cuts was the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, which parted ways with 14 employees, including five in the newsroom. That includes Ellis Williams, a sportswriter who accepted a job offer to join the Oklahoman only to have that offer withdrawn. Other layoffs included a photographer, a health reporter and two breaking news reporters, people close to the newsroom reported. When GateHouse bought the Oklahoman in September, it laid off 37 staffers.

According to sources and social media, the Palm Beach (Florida) Post laid off two photographers, the Cape Cod Times laid off two reporters — a sportswriter and a courts reporter — and the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette laid off columnist Clive McFarlane, who had been at the paper for 26 years.

In addition, according to a source, there were two layoffs at the Fall River (Massachusetts) Herald News, two at the New Bedford (Massachusetts) Standard-Times and one at the Pueblo (Colorado) Chieftain.

A GateHouse spokeswoman said the company has no comment. This story will be updated if more layoffs are reported (send tips to

As far as the Gannett-GateHouse merger, it still is not a done deal. The New York Post reported that the executives are on a road trip this week in hopes of convincing investors to support the merger.

This story has been updated.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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