The ailing Gannett newspaper chain began layoffs on Friday, but no journalists from their nine New Jersey publications have reported losing their jobs.
Gannett recently announced that they would begin reducing the size of their staff after revealing that they had lost $54 million and a 7% dip in revenue in the second quarter of this year.
“Gannett wants to pretend it can report on our communities with fewer journalists while still spending lavishly on executives. We deserve better, and our readers, equally, deserve better,” Asbury Park Press reporter Susanne Cervenka said in a statement posted on her union’s website. There is no local journalism without local journalists.”
According to Deadline, while “no official tally was available,” Gannett properties in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin let journalists go on Friday.
The announcement of massive losses and a dim outlook for the future caused Gannet’s stock prices to drop by 28% on the first day. A few days later, Gannett CEO Mike Reed spent $1.22 million to purchase 500,000 shares for himself at the reduced rate.
“Gannett is a total mess, and yet the CEO continues to buy stocks and have the company buy stocks so he can get richer,” said Jon Schleuss, the president of NewsGuild-CWA, said on Twitter.
Hundreds of Gannett journalists across the U.S. staged a lunch break walk out on Thursday to protest decisions made by corporate executives.
In New Jersey, Gannett owns The (Bergen) Record, Daily Record, New Jersey Herald, Courier Post, Home News Tribune, Asbury Park Press, Burlington County Times, Courier-Post and the Vineland Daily Journal.