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Sad news from Gannett: layoffs of New Jersey reporters, staff coming today

By David Wildstein, April 24 2020 1:23 pm

Layoffs are coming today at several Gannett newspapers in New Jersey, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

At least three layoffs were made today at The (Bergen) Record, the flagship of Gannett’s ten daily newspapers in New Jersey, including one reporter who is pregnant and twelve days away from her due date.

“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,” Viorel Florescu posted on his Facebook page.

One reporter from the Asbury Park Press had been cut, the Globe has learned, as well as editors at the Herald News.

The move comes almost four weeks after Gannett began furloughing employees due to the economic effects of the deadly coronavirus.

Gannett also owns the Herald News, Daily Record, Courier News, Home News Tribune, Courier-Post, Daily Journal, and Burlington County Times newspapers.

Dan Sforza, the executive editor of The Record, did not immediately reply to a 12:51 PM direct message seeking comment.

“The local news industry continues to suffer death by a thousand cuts, and it couldn’t be coming at a worse time. These reporters, and the thousands of others who have lost their jobs in recent weeks, are being taken off the front lines of a global pandemic, preventing them from providing for their families and giving millions of Americans the life-saving information they need,” said Jon Schleuss, president of the NewsGuild-CWA. “Congress needs to step up in a bipartisan way to stop the bleeding, and help save local news for the long haul.”

Other Gannett newspapers across the country are also announcing layoffs today.

Gannett stock plummeted to 64 cents a share almost three weeks ago, signaling immense problems ahead for the company that operates ten daily newspapers in New Jersey.  The stock is currently trading at 72 cents a share.

The grim news follows recent furloughs of reporters and staff at several of Gannett’s New Jersey properties as the largest newspapers chain in the nation deals with the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.  Gannett also announced 25% salary reductions for top staff.

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 575 Gannett employees nationally have lost their jobs since their acquisition by GateHouse Media last year.

This story was updated at 6:27 PM with comment from Schleuss.

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