Thursday, September 15, 2016

Gannett to lay off more than 200, go after younger readers

The moving notice of North Jersey Media Group and The Record still is visible at the public entrance of the landmark headquarters at 150 River St. -- seven years after they abandoned Hackensack. The building and nearly 20 acres of the land were not part of the sale to Gannett, the nation's biggest newspaper chain.


Gannett, the payroll-slashing newspaper publisher, is delivering bad news to about half of the 426 employees left at North Jersey Media Group and its flagship daily, The Record.

More than 200 of them "will see their jobs end in mid-November," according to a story on the first Business page today (L-7).

News of the so-called restructuring appeared on on Wednesday morning.

NJMG includes The Record, Herald News,, 50 weekly newspapers, (201) magazine and "an Events Group," Gannett says.

The New York Post, which reported Gannett paid the Borg family $40 million for NJMG, has said layout, news and copy editors would be getting pink slips by mid-October after production of The Record is moved to Neptune.

That's where Gannett has been putting out the Asbury Park Press and five other New Jersey dailies the company publishes.

Now, it seems, those layoffs have been pushed ahead to mid-November.

Digital, schmigital

Today's story also delivered bad news to The Record's older readers -- who are believed to be the majority -- especially those who don't own smart phones or text or use computers.

In fact, many believe "app" is short for "appetizer" on an early bird dinner menu.

According to Gannett, the goal of the restructuring is to make the "newsroom and sales department more responsible to the growing digital demands of readers and advertisers" (L-7).

Sure to sail over older readers' heads is Gannett's pledge to deliver "a broader array of story-telling techniques and advertising solutions" to "the sophisticated and increasingly digitally minded New Jersey audience and advertisers." 

No. 1 source?

"We are proud to be North Jersey's No. 1 local news source," one Gannett executive boasts in today's story.

But it's clear from the looming layoffs, Gannett's main goals are lower labor costs, more ad revenue and higher profits.

Readers don't see any "local news" on Page 1 today, only mindless coverage of New York baseball teams under this headline.


Yet it's doubtful Gannett will be able to resurrect The Record, once a leader in delivering municipal news to readers.

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