Gannett to move 485 business-side jobs to Hyderabad

Pandemic forces faster job cuts in US news industry

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

A report by Poynter says that GateHouse-Gannett is undertaking a massive company-wide transformation of Gannett, which has told its business office employees that 485 of their jobs are being outsourced to Hyderabad in India. This is to happen early next year, with the employees laid off to be notified by 15 January 2021.

In a frequently asked questions document, the company said this was an efficiency measure to keep costs low. The jobs being outsourced entail billing, invoicing, monthly bookkeeping, and summary reports. Apparently, Gannet has said the laid-off employees could continue till April, and many may be involved in training their replacements, something called ‘transitioning.’

Two of the largest newspaper media houses in the United States were combined in the second half of 2019 as GateHouse Media acquired Gannett for US$ 1.4 billion. The deal concluded in November, created the largest newspaper company in the US with a print circulation of 8.7 million, approximately 7 million more than the McClatchy group with a combined circulation of 2 million copies. Chatham Asset Management acquired McClatchy in a court auction in July approved by the court in August 2020.

When the New Media Investment Group and its GateHouse newspaper chain acquired Gannett, it took a US$ 1.2 billion loan from Apollo Global Capital and assumed another US$ 600 million of debt. Of the debt, US$ 180 million has been repaid, with US$ 500 million refinanced at a lower interest rate. The Poynter story says that the pandemic ad recession has increased the combined group’s financial stress, with nearly all employees given an unpaid leave of a week over several months. Earlier this year, it offered buyouts to employees with about 500 applications accepted, half of them journalists.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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