One of America’s largest newspaper corporations, Gannett is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as advertising revenue dries up and costs continue to mount for the struggling enterprise. In New Jersey, Gannett owns and operates the Asbury Park Press, Daily Record, Daily Journal, The Record, Herald News, The New Jersey Herald, Courrier-Post, Burlington County Times and the Pocono Record.
In March, the company notified its employees that it would be making the job cuts and forcing executive pay cuts to high paid company officers. In the newspaper business, advertising has essentially disappeared during COVID-19 as businesses across the state have been forced to shut their doors have in turn, shut down their advertising campaigns.
One of Gannett’s larger revenue streams, public notices have also begun to diminish as courts are closed and many towns have postponed planning board and zoning board meetings. With courts closed, eventually foreclosure notices and sheriff’s sales will also start drying up, cutting the newspaper company of a vital source of public revenue which is required by state law.
According to the New York post, “Seven editorial staffers were laid off at The Record in northern NJ, according to sources. Among them, according to an insider, was a woman who is nine months pregnant and a staffer who’s been out on disability.”
So far, according to reports online via employee social media posts, some of the layoffs were sports and editorial staff at this point.
The company stated in a press release that these cuts and a string of recent furloughs has nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis, but a shaking out from last year’s billion-dollar acquisition by GateHouse Media. That’s bad news for employees who made this week’s cuts as an indication of more to come.