Two sections of the Louisville Courier-Journal have been gutted by recent layoffs.
Half of the Neighborhoods section and much of the Velocity staff have been cut. As a result, Velocity will become part of the regular newspaper, rather than a weekly publication distributed independent of the Courier-Journal. A similar weekly publication in Indianapolis recently folded. It was part of the Gannett and Tribune Company joint venture MetroMix, which is online-only in Louisville. With the cuts to Velocity, most, but not all, of the Courier-Journal arts writing staff has been eliminated.
“…arts coverage is gutted, our weekly magazine gone. Neighborhoods section decimated,” wrote Courier and Velocity writer Erin Keane on Twitter, who was among those laid off.
The Neighborhoods section will continue to be published, but it’s not clear how often.
The Indiana State House Bureau has been eliminated entirely. The Gannett-owned Indianapolis Star cut more than 60 employees yesterday, two dozen from news.
The layoffs are among 50 made yesterday at the paper. Those 50 are part of the 700 positions parent company Gannett terminated nationwide to cut costs. It’s Gannett’s largest single round of layoffs in two years. The Courier fired 51 employees in 2008, 44 in 2009 and 11 in February of this year.
Publisher Arnold Garson did not return a request for comment from WFPL, but he is quoted in the Courier attributing the cuts to a decline in advertising revenue.
Gannett’s U.S. newspapers division president Bob Dickey, who announced the layoffs in a memo yesterday, earned $3.4 million last year, up from $1.9 million the year before. Gannett’s CEO Craig Dubow earned more than $9 million last year.
Current and former Gannett employees criticized the cuts (and Dubow’s salary) on various social media sites, calling the day of layoffs “inhumane,” “a slaughter,” and saying the newspaper and the community deserve better.