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A look at newsroom layoffs in the third quarter

At different times within the media industry, layoffs hit lows and highs. Creative Loafing reported this morning that as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution prepares its budget for 2014, possible layoffs may be on the horizon. But that’s looking at mere potentials, while here’s a look at some of the latest newsrooms reductions as the third quarter draws to a close:

  • AdAge.com reported last month that Walt Disney was eliminating 175 jobs at its ABC TV Group, which includes its broadcast network. According to the article, layoffs are the result of a review of the organizational structure and the adoption of new technologies. This includes eight stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh, N.C., Durham, N.C., and Fresno, Calif.
  • Most recently, the Salt Lake Tribune plans to lay off 20 percent of its staff following the announcement by editor Nancy Conway that publisher William Dean Singleton was stepping down and that she and editorial page editor Vern Anderson would be retiring. According to SLTrib.com, the layoffs and cutbacks—including 17 full-time and two part-time employees—are part of a restructuring.
  • Only a few months after wealthy businessman John Georges bought The Advocate, voluntary buyouts were announced. The plan is to eliminate five percent of full-time employees with 15 or more years with the company, which totals at about 19 jobs.  According to The Advocate, if not enough employees take the plan then they’ll have to resort to involuntary layoffs.  The buyout would reportedly put the paper more in line with newsroom staffing numbers of other papers of similar size.
  • In July, Advance Publications’ Plain Dealer dealt out layoffs to approximately 45 newsroom staff members right before it ended seven-day home delivery. Advance’s weekly Sun Newspapers also lost roughly 20 employees. According to Cleveland.com, the layoffs were fueled by a decline in ad revenue.
  • Gannett laid off hundreds this past summer, totaling nearly 430 jobs in 63 locations, reported Jim Hopkins, owner of the Gannett Blog. This included The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., Democrat and Chronicle, Arizona Republic, Wisconsin’s Green Bay Press-Gazette, The Tennessean, the News Journal, the Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., Lansing State Journal, Burlington Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Missouri’s Springfield News-Leader and more. This was Gannett’s biggest mass of layoffs since 2011, when the storied newspaper publisher eliminated 700 positions.
  • HuffPost Live recently shut down its Los Angeles studio and moved operations to New York. Although there were 20 staffers working in the LA office, roughly two-thirds were reportedly offered jobs in the New York office. According to TheVerge.com, Huffington Post will be reallocating resources into their global endeavors.
  • As previously reported by inVocus, Patch.com is also instituting layoffs from 200 to 500 employees as it shuts down or finds partners for 300 of its 900 sites. This comes on the heels of the layoffs of 40 people in May.
  • NBC News let go a small numbers of employees from “Today” and “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” TheWrap.com reported. But it was fewer than 2 percent.

As we head into the fourth quarter, it’s hard to say whether layoffs will slow. But based on yearly rates, a number of newsroom cuts per quarter continue to be the norm at media outlets across the country.

–Katrina M. Mendolera




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