Gannett slashes newspaper jobs weeks after major TV buy

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(Flickr: Danny Busch)

(Flickr: Danny Busch)

Weeks after Gannett Company shelled out $2.2 billion to purchase 20 television stations, the media company slashed dozens of jobs in its newspaper division.

The company acknowledged on Friday that it “eliminated an unspecific number of jobs,” the Associated Press reported. A reporter who writes for a Gannett-focused trade publication estimated over 200 jobs at 37 newsrooms were lost.

USA Today, Gannett’s flagship newspaper and the only national daily publication, escaped the ax according to the AP.

The move comes weeks after Gannett announced the purchase of 20 television stations from Belo Corporation for $2.2 billion ($1.5 billion in cash), upping its broadcast portfolio from 23 stations to 43. The move positioned Gannett as the fourth largest owner of major network affiliates in the country. The Gannett-Belo deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Gannett’s decision to play up its broadcast properties at the cost of its newspaper division is similar to that of the Tribune Company. After emerging from bankruptcy on January 1, Tribune split its broadcast and print divisions. The company acquired television stations from cousin-company Local TV while laying off reporters in its newspaper divisions.

Tribune is also said to be contemplating a sale of its eight newspapers, including its flagship Chicago Tribune and major paper Los Angeles Times, to pay down debts.