New year, same buzz word for newspaper employees: Furlough

Asheville Citizen-Times employees will be forced to take unpaid time off in the first three months of next year, according to a new round of cost-saving measures announced by corporate owner Gannett Co. this week.

The furloughs, which will affect employees at all of Gannett’s 82 community newspapers, started this year when Gannett required employees to take unpaid time off in the first and second quarters of the year. The latest round of furloughs will last up to one week, depending on the employee, according to a Gannett memo.

Other media companies have been shedding workers as weak advertising continues to take its toll on the newspaper industry, the Associated Press reports. USA Today, Gannett’s flagship newspaper, announced it was reducing its newsroom staff by 5 percent. The New York Times, the Associated Press and Time Inc. have also announced job cuts in recent weeks, the AP reports.

Gannett cut 10 percent of its workforce in 2008 and slashed another 3 percent this past summer. At the Citizen-Times, that has translated into about two dozen layoffs. Another 60 employees lost their jobs at the newspaper’s printing plant in January when the company closed down its press. The newspaper is now printed in Greenville, S.C.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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