More labored breathing for ailing newspapers

I go offline for just a couple of hours and I arrive to more scathing news about the newspaper business and the journalists who work in them:

• Gannett will be letting go of another 3,000 editorial employees across the chain, or 10 percent of its newsroom personnel, by December. Seasons Greetings, folks. This on top of 1,000 cuts made earlier this year. But the staff at USA Today apparently will be untouched.

Read the long, sad, heart-wrenching comments at the end of this post, and take a good look around the Gannett Blog. It’s written by a former Gannetteer who took a buyout and who gets plenty of news tips and leads to make this a vibrant, must-read site about what’s happening inside the nation’s largest newspaper company.

• The Christian Science Monitor announced it will no longer publish a daily print edition after 100 years. It will switch to a weekly Sunday print edition and bolster its website. No decision has been made on how many of its 100 journalists will be affected.

A newspaper analyst says: “We are seeing the amazing shrinkage of the U.S. press.”

• Could it be the first of more print-to-online switches for mainstream papers? Maybe. Well, not so fast there. The Monitor will save $4 million in expenses but also stands to lose $5 million in income. (It receives a $7 million annual subsidy from the Christian Science church.) That’s the truly awful dilemma, since print revenues still feed the beast at newspaper companies:

“It’s no longer a theoretical question: by 2015, I believe we’ll be living in a mainly digital/a little print world. There are six long years between now and then and the transition means everything to the readers, the journalists and the apparently reinvigorated democracy unfolding before us.”

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