Layoffs Again Hit Commercial Appeal Newsroom

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More newsroom staffers were let go at The Commercial Appeal Tuesday, another round reductions here from the newspaper's newest owner, Gannett Co.

In April 2016, Virginia-based Gannett closed on a purchase deal that included the CA, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, and 13 other daily newspaper in nine states. At the time, Gannett officials said they would not lay off any news staffers for one year.  

Almost exactly 12 months later, Gannett laid off 20 news employees in Memphis on one day in April 2017. So far, the company has laid off close to two dozen employees in the Memphis newsroom.

Daniel Connolly, a CA reporter and president of the Memphis Newspaper Guild, said his labor organization met with company officials this afternoon. Kevin McKenzie, a Guild-covered reporter, and a manager were let go Tuesday, he said.

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The Guild does not cover managers and Connolly said he didn't know the identity of that laid-off employee.



In April, advertising staffers were made to re-apply for their jobs, though how many of those lost their jobs is not known. The paper also ended agreements with freelance writers in January.

Here's what Connolly said to Guild members in an email Tuesday:

"I want to personally thank the many Guild volunteers who helped represent us in two separate meetings with the company regarding today’s job cut.



We’re also grateful for offers of support we’ve already received from former employees. It’s this kind of unity that helps us remain a strong and vital labor organization.

While this job cut is smaller than those we saw earlier this year, it’s a life-changing event for the people involved and we take it very seriously.

Company attorney Warren Funk told us this afternoon that two people lost jobs in Memphis as part of company-wide job cuts: one Guild-covered reporter, and one manager.

Our union does not cover managers and the company generally doesn’t release information about them to us. At this point I don’t know who the manager is, or what department the manager worked in.

We’re continuing to represent the interests of our Guild-covered employee."

Sources said newsroom staffers in Nashville, Dickson, and Knoxville also lost their jobs Tuesday.

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