News in print continues downward spiral

There is more bad news for the newspaper industry in Florida, including a small, insignificant paper in Jacksonville.

Gannett, the media giant that is read by more people in Florida than any of its competitors after taking ownership of about 25 papers, is slashing employees and pay — again.

Mike Reed, who heads Gannett in Florida, sent out the bad news yesterday.

It contained the usual blarney about the company facing “headwinds” and thanking the soon-to-be-unemployed employees for their hard work.

Then he said Gannett will stop matching employee contributions to the pension fund.

Employees also will have five days of unpaid leave in December.

Employees who quit voluntarily will be eligible for a pay severance program.

Employees who stay may ask for a shorter work week with a 20 percent cut in pay or an unpaid sabbatical up to six months.

Gannett, in keeping with the other major newspaper companies in Florida, including Times Publishing, Tribune Publishing and McClatchy, is on the Far Left and “news stories” often are indistinguishable from its editorials and opinion columns.

Accurate circulation figures are difficult to find but based on what has been published the local paper lost 31 percent of its readers from 2015 to 2021, having already declined precipitously since then. Since being sold by the Morris family it has sliced the size of its staff and moved out of its building into a tiny office in a downtown building.

Its actual current paid circulation as of July was 14,425.

It also has the smallest penetration, which is the circulation among the population nearby, of any of the papers in Florida.

Gannett papers in Lakeland and Ocala lost more than half their readers during that same period.

These losses took place during a period of rapid growth in Florida.

The healthiest paper in Florida is the Villages Daily Sun, which reaches more than a third of the population in its area. It does not publish opinions, only the news.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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