Gannett Freezes Hiring and Begins More Cost-Cutting Measures

The company also announced a suspension of of 401K matches and offered voluntary severance

Gannett owns USA Today as well as hundreds of local news outlets (Getty Images)

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the U.S., has begun cost-cutting measures as the company enters the last quarter of the year, including a hiring freeze, a suspension of 401k matches, a six-month sabbatical and a mandatory unpaid five-day leave for every employee this December.

The publisher also offered voluntary severance for those who would like to leave the company or retire, as well as an optional four-day workweek. The hiring freeze will concern “all positions not considered critical or key revenue and operating roles.”

“We’ve been transparent about the need to take immediate action given the uncertain and challenging economic environment,” a spokesperson for Gannett told TheWrap. “While difficult, we are confident these decisions will ensure Gannett’s future.” 

The cost-cutting changes come two months after Gannett laid off roughly 400 employees, or 3% of its U.S. workforce, according to USA Today, a brand owned by Gannett, who also reported that the media conglomerate employed close to 14,000 U.S. employees at the end of 2021, with an additional 2,500 staffers based outside of the country. 

Besides USA Today, Gannett owns hundreds of local media brands in 46 states in the U.S. The parent company also owns Newsquest, which runs 120 local media outlets in the United Kingdom. 

According to USA Today, the company faced a net loss of $53.7 million in the second quarter, marking a steep decline when compared to the net income of $15.1 million the same period in 2021. 

The news also comes on the heels of layoffs from Bustle Digital Group, a publisher that owns Gawker, Nylon, Mic and The Zoe Report, who announced that they would lay off 19 staffers in mainly editorial roles, including 10 employees from pop culture publication Mic and close down its tech outlet Input in September.