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December 8, 2008

Filed under: journalism»industry

Layoff Stories

In the last week, Gannett (owner of USA Today and a whole host of regional papers) laid off a large chunk of its workforce, currently up to about 1,900 people. Gannett Blog has been collecting layoff stories--short notes from those who have been cut loose. They're interesting reading.

I've linked to this before, but it should be highlighted again: Gannett papers participating in the layoffs typically have very healthy profit margins, the highest of which is the Green Bay Press-Gazette with 42.5%. You can find the cuts for each regional paper here. Green Bay has cut 22 jobs, amounting to 7% of its workforce.

This is, sadly, not out of the ordinary. As the Project for Excellence in Journalism notes, the average newspaper recorded 18.5% pre-tax margins in 2007: "The industry remains profitable, but it has come time to take the 'obscenely' out of that commonplace observation." In a world of news management that's driven by Wall Street stock prices, there's no place for profits that aren't 'obscene.' And newsrooms are taking the fall.

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