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Gannett newspaper chain to furlough journalists

Gannett newspaper chain to furlough journalists
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Gannett announced Monday it is cutting pay and furloughing journalists at its newspapers across the country as ad revenue plunges during the coronavirus pandemic.

The publisher of more than 100 newspapers, including USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, The Columbus Dispatch and The Arizona Republic, is reportedly furloughing workers who make more than $38,000. Those employees will be subject to furloughs of one week per month in April, May and June, according to a tweet from investigative reporter Gregory Holman of the Springfield News-Leader in Missouri, a Gannett-owned paper.

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In a memo obtained by The Washington Post, Gannett CEO Paul Bascobert wrote that while subscriptions and online traffic are up, the company forecasts that ad revenue will “decline considerably” in the second quarter, which runs from April 1 to June 30.

“Direct sold advertising has already slowed and many businesses have paused their scheduled marketing campaigns,” Bascobert wrote.

The Hill has reached out to Gannett for comment.

The move this week comes as local newspapers are already struggling in the digital age.

Pew found that nine of the 16 newspapers with circulations of 250,000 or more, or 56 percent, had experienced layoffs during a 16-month period ending in April 2018.

Gannett was acquired in August 2019 by GateHouse Media for $1.4 billion.