Gannett is consolidating news operations in Pennsylvania and South Jersey into a new operation headed by Shane Fitzgerald, the Atlantic Sub-Regional Executive Editor for GateHouse Media’s 24 newspapers, including the Burlington County Times and the New Jersey Herald.
Fitzgerald shifted to Gannett last November after the merger with GateHouse.
Audrey Harvin, the South Jersey executive editor for Gannett, will serve on Fitzgerald’s team, according to an announcement by Gannett.
In addition to the Burlington County Times, the South Jersey region includes the Camden-based Courier-Post and the Daily Journal in Vineland.
Gannett describes the three New Jersey newspapers as “suburban Philadelphia properties.”
The inclusion of New Jersey as part of other regional Gannett chains is nothing new. Dan Sforza, the executive editor of The (Bergen) Record, also holds the same title of The Journal News in the Lower Hudson Valley part of New York State, and the Poughkeepsie (New York) Journal.
Gannett has experienced layoffs over the last month and has furloughed many reporters for one week a month. Editors and columnists now furloughed had their salaries cut by about 25%.
Gannett stock had plummeted to 64 cents a share a month ago, but closed on Friday at 95 cents a share.
Last summer, GateHouse Media acquired Gannett for $12.06 a share. The deal was structured to include a massive debt that would require hundreds of millions in cuts to pay back a $1.2 billion loan that was part of the deal to keep them afloat.
More than 600 Gannett employees nationally have lost their jobs since their acquisition by GateHouse Media last year.
A Willingboro native, Harvin was the managing editor of the Burlington County Times. Jerry Staas Haught is the regional news director for the Courier-Post and Daily Journal and will report to Harvin.
The Sussex County-based New Jersey Herald, which was purchased by GateHouse prior to the Gannett merger, was also under Fitzgerald’s authority.
Hollis R. Towns, who had been executive editor and news vice president of the Asbury Park Press, became northeast regional editor and news vice president for Gannett last August. Paul D’Ambrosio replaced Towns.
Gannett also operates the Herald News, Daily Record, Courier News, Home and the News Tribune.