Following trends in Gannett-owned publications nationwide, the Asheville Citizen-Times laid off a total of eight staffers Aug. 14 — six of them from its newsroom, including longtime columnist Susan Reinhardt and Ashvegas reporter-blogger Jason Sandford.
“It's hard when you see colleagues leaving that you've worked with for years, many years," Sandford tells Xpress. "There are tears, people are crying, there's emotion.”
Sandford worked there for about 16 years, in three different stints, starting in 1992 (he worked for Xpress from 2008-10). He says this mirrors the 2011 layoffs, when Gannett slashed 10 jobs in the newsroom.“They're gutting the news operation, the heart and soul of the newspaper,” he says. “That's what hurts.”
In an interview with WLOS, Reinhardt said, "I just feel like I made a difference in the 26 and a half years. And I'm really just going to miss all my readers."
Sandford reports that in addition to himself and Reinhardt, three other staffers were let go from the news department, including copy editor Rob Mikulak, reporter Thomas Fraser and staff photographer John Fletcher.
However, in the newspaper industry, layoffs like this are neither new nor shocking.
In recent weeks, industry publications have reported that Gannett, the United States’ largest media company and newspaper publisher, has been going through a series of nationwide layoffs. — Caitlin Byrd