Twenty-four employees of The Tennessean accepted “voluntary severance packages” Wednesday, Tennessean publisher Ellen Leifeld confirmed Thursday.
Eight newsroom staff members were offered the packages: former managing editor David Green, investigative reporter Melvin Claxton, Sam Parrish, Terry Quillen, Laurie Deaton, Tim Ghanni, Robert Sherborne and Larry Woody.
Leifeld said 66 staff members applied to receive the packages, which provide two weeks of pay for every year of service.
As to why the packages were offered, Leifeld said, “It’s clear that it’s a difficult time for the newspaper industry, and we’re no exception.”
Leifeld said the paper is not in the midst of a hiring freeze, as some positions are being filled.
“We’re making conscious decisions about the positions we are filling to make sure they are moving our business forward,” Leifeld said.
Newspapers across the country have made adjustments to staffing levels in recent months. St. Paul Pioneer-Press and The Herald-Tribune of Florida were among papers nationally to make buyout-related announcements in July.
Gannett publications The Indianapolis Star and The Honolulu Advertiser announced voluntary buyout plan offerings in June.
Leifeld said the voluntary severance packages offered locally are not buyouts. The policy was drafted by The Tennessean, and not by parent company, Gannett Company, Inc.