Possible layoffs loom at Detroit News and Free Press

December 04, 2018, 10:18 PM

It wouldn't be the holiday season without the dark cloud of layoffs hanging over some Detroit newsrooms.

Layoffs are possible at the city's two daily papers following recent buyout offers, Crain's Detroit Business reportsthough an executive tells the outlet they won't happen before Christmas.

More journalism jobs may crumble.
(Twitter photo by Karen Dybis)

The buyouts were reportedly offered to staffers 55 and older at both papers as part of a larger buyout bid by their parent company, Gannett. 

Writers and editors at the paper spoke with Crain's:

"Gannett is offering an early retirement option at both papers, on slightly different timetables. There is no target number on what they'd like to get. Potential (is) for layoffs if they don't get enough. This, of course, is just the latest round of reductions that go back a decade or more," John Gallagher, president of Newspaper Guild of Detroit Local 34022 and a Free Press business columnist, said via email.

Free Press Editor and Vice President Peter Bhatia confirmed details of Gannett's companywide buyout bid that applies to Free Press employees and said the deadline to apply is next week.

News Managing Editor Gary Miles said a buyout offer had gone out to the newspaper's "most veteran employees" but that "we won't know who will accept or be accepted, or the staffing and budgetary ramifications, until we get quite a bit further down the road."

In exchange for their early departure, Gannett is reportedly offering staffers with more than 15 years of employment up to 35 weeks of severance and a bonus of as much as about $5,500.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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