Posted By: Kevin Osborne
People in the media industry have been dreading it for awhile and now it's finally here: "Black Wednesday."
Mass layoffs began today at newspapers owned by The Gannett Co., which includes The Cincinnati Enquirer. As with past layoffs at the paper, details of which staffers were affected are leaking in spurts and fits, but here's what we know so far.
The entire staff of CiN Weekly, a free weekly entertainment newspaper published by The Enquirer, was let go. That number totals around 10 people including Michael Perry, managing editor for non-daily publications and new initiatives. It's unlikely that The Enquirer will leave the weekly publication market entirely: Some staffers have been placing Metromix stickers on news boxes. Gannett already has made that change in the Indianapolis and Nashville markets, replacing local publications with one standard weekly that uses copy produced from various corporate sites nationwide.
Another casualty of the layoffs is David Wells, editorial page editor, as well as an unidentified number in the newpaper's digital division.
Also, some reporters for the daily newspaper are packing up their desks, although we haven't been able to verify names. There are unconfirmed rumors that a high-profile columnist is one of the victims of the downsizing.
Like most newspapers, Gannett's profits have dropped as readers migrate to free content on the Internet, and the loss has lead to declining advertising revenues. Earlier this year Gannett required most of its workers to take two separate, five-day unpaid furloughs. Further, Gannett had a round of layoffs in December, and offered several employees a voluntary severance package last fall to reduce its payroll.
At least 28 people have left The Enquirer's newsroom since last fall.
Unconnected to the layoffs, business reporter John Eckberg is leaving The Enquirer after 29 years to accept a job as publicist for a medical supplies firm based in Bloomington, Ind.
CityBeat will update the layoff news as we confirm it.
UPDATE: As predicted, Metromix is here to stay, at least for now. Enquirer Editor Tom Callinan just posted this on his Twitter account: "Need to clarify: CiN in print and online will continue with Metromix as dominant brand. That does not lessen the sadness of layoffs."