Gannett newspaper chain to lay off 700 workers

Gannett Co.

is cutting 2 percent of its workforce, or 700 employees, at its U.S. Community Publishing division as the company struggles to turn the corner on a deep downturn in advertising revenue.


"As we reach the mid-point of the year, the economic recovery is not happening as quickly or favorably as we had hoped," wrote Robert Dickey, president of the division, in a memo to employees Tuesday.

"National advertising remains soft and with many of our local advertisers reducing their overall budgets, we need to take further steps to align our costs with the current revenue trends."


Gannett is the largest newspaper chain in the United States, home to more than 80 daily papers including

USA Today

, the


Republic and the Indianapolis Star, and is considered the bellwether in the industry.

The company reported a decline in first-quarter profit and revenue driven in part by a 7 percent drop in advertising sales at its publishing division.

National print advertising revenue fell almost 11 percent.

A Gannett spokeswoman referred to Dickey's comments about improved audience growth but said that weakness in real estate, employment and auto advertising was affecting revenue growth.


The memo was posted on the media website Romenesko.

Shares of Gannett closed up almost 3 percent at $14.16 Tuesday.