Gannett Newspapers Doing Widespread Cost-Cutting

From a New York Times story by Katie Robertson and Benjamin Mullin headlined “Gannett Announces Widespread Cost-Cutting”:

The chief executive of Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, announced widespread cost-cutting to its newsrooms, citing headwinds from the “deteriorating macroeconomic environment.”

In a memo, Mike Reed, the chief executive, said the company would require employees to take unpaid leave in December, offer voluntary buyouts and temporarily suspend 401(k) contribution matches. Gannett will also freeze hiring except for crucial positions.

He said the changes were needed to ensure the company’s long-term success.

Mr. Reed said the company was offering severance to employees who volunteer to leave the company. It is also giving employees the option to adjust their schedules to work fewer hours for less pay or to take unpaid sabbaticals of up to six months. Five days of unpaid leave are required in December, Mr. Reed said.

“This mix of temporary and permanent actions allows us the near-term flexibility we need to drive improvement while preserving our ability to quickly pivot as we see the economy and areas of our business progress,” he wrote.

Gannett publishes newspapers including USA Today and more than 220 dailies. Two months ago, Gannett cut 400 jobs and paused hiring in 400 more, after weak second-quarter earnings results. The company reported a 6.9 percent decline in revenue year over year to $748.7 million, with a loss of almost $54 million. Gannett’s stock is down more than 70 percent for the year.

The company has more than $1 billion in debt from its merger in 2019 with Gatehouse Media. The company said this month that it had repaid $55 million of the debt since June 30 from the sale of real estate and other assets.

“We’ve been transparent about the need to take immediate action given the uncertain and challenging economic environment,” Lark-Marie Anton, Gannett’s chief communications officer, said. “While difficult, we are confident these decisions will ensure Gannett’s future.”

Katie Robertson is a media reporter. She previously worked as an editor and reporter at Bloomberg and News Corporation Australia.

Benjamin Mullin is a media reporter for The Times, covering the major companies behind news and entertainment.

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