The Tennessean laid off at least one reporter on Thursday as a round of cuts swept through the Gannett chain. And more cuts may be on the way.
Inquiries to The Tennessean were referred to Kurt Allen, the paper's new vice president of marketing, who did not return calls.
A source told The City Paper that today's layoff was done ahead of a planned vacation and that senior management said more cuts are expected. Courts reporter Bobby Allyn was laid off Thursday, and noted food writer Jennifer Justus confirmed that she had turned in her notice and would be leaving the paper.
A Gannett corporate spokesman told media observer Jim Romenesko that, "Some USCP [U.S. Community Publishing] sites are making cuts to align their business plans with local market conditions.”
There were at least 170 confirmed layoffs chain-wide, with several other papers in the Middle Tennessee area being affected. The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville lost four employees, while the Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, which just went through a recent restructuring and laid off six newsroom staffers, laid off one.
In a confidential memo to managers, Tennessean publisher and central group president Laura Hollingsworth issued a set of talking points to her papers, outlining the "progress on the many transformative initiatives to seek new sources of revenue."
Recent corporate filings, however, show that the chain is substantially behind on their goal of a quarter million digital-only subscribers chain-wide by the end of 2013. As of July 1, Gannett had signed up only 64,000, with 46,000 of those already on the books when the campaign was announced in January.
Second quarter advertising revenue in print products fell 5.3 percent over the same period in 2012. It was the third-straight quarterly decline.