Gannett, CNN, Washington Post make cuts in brutal week for media industry as hundreds lose jobs

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Hundreds of media industry staffers were laid off this week during a brutal period that saw Warner Bros. Discovery, Gannett and others slash headcount as economic uncertainty plagues news organizations. 

Gannett, a newspaper juggernaut that owns dozens of local media outlets along with USA Today, began its latest round of layoffs on Thursday. The cost-cutting effort impacted roughly 6% of the company’s news workforce of about 3,440 employees. 

"While incredibly difficult, we are implementing significant efficiencies across the company and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility to continue propelling Gannett's future," a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. 

CNN LAYOFFS CONTINUE WITH CHRIS CILLIZZA AMONG PROMINENT STAFFERS LET GO

Hundreds of media industry staffers were laid off this week during a brutal period that saw Warner Bros. Discovery, Gannett and others slash headcount as economic uncertainty plagues news organizations. 

Warner Bros. Discovery’s CNN is perhaps the highest profile, as widespread layoffs resulted in everyone from high-profile talent to rank-and-file staffers losing their jobs. CNN has not publicly disclosed the total number of employees who were let go, but "hundreds" of staffers will ultimately be affected, according to Puck News. 

CNN CEO Chris Licht also pulled the plug on all live programming at HLN, a sister network of CNN, so longtime morning show anchor Robin Meade will leave the network she first joined in 2001 as a result. Chris Cillizza, a CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, was also let go and a handful of behind-the-scenes staffers have shared their fate on social media. CNN insiders have said the impacted employees were informed individually, so more names are expected to trickle out over time. 

In his memo to staff, Licht attempted to explain the changes that were being made at CNN, including "reorganizing" CNN International and replacing one of its programs with a simulcast of regular CNN programming, "relying" more on CNN journalists for analysis than paid contributors, the merging of show staffs in the daytime and weekend lineups, as well as the reduction of the creative marketing team.

CNN BEGINS LAYOFFS UNDER CHRIS LICHT: 'DIFFICULT TIME FOR EVERYONE'

"The changes we are making today are necessary and will make us stronger and better positioned to place big bets going forward without fear of failure," Licht wrote. "To your departing colleagues, I want to express my gratitude for your dedicated and tireless service and for your many contributions to CNN. To all employees, I want to underscore the importance of taking the time you need to best be able to move forward. 

"I am proud of this CNN team, and together we will ensure CNN continues to be the world's most vital source of news and information," Licht added. 

Licht, who took over CNN after the ousting of Jeff Zucker, was reportedly tasked by boss David Zaslav earlier this year with making a further $100 million in cuts as part of a broader Warner Bros. Discovery budget-slicing effort. 

Widespread layoffs at CNN resulted in everyone from high-profile talent to rank-and-file staffers losing their jobs.  (DANIEL SLIM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES / Getty Images)

The Recount, a left-wing video news operation that was launched in 2018 by journalists John Battelle and John Heilemann, told employees it will shut down next week, according to Axios. The Recount has not commented, and Axios added that executives remain in talks with buyers and could attempt to continue operations if they are able to find a deal before next week’s deadline. 

"A large portion of the Recount's staff was laid off last month, bringing its total employee count down to around a dozen," Axios reported. 

The Washington Post also announced this week that it would scrap its stand-alone Sunday print magazine. 

"We will end the print Sunday Magazine in its current form as we continue to undergo our global and digital transformation," Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee said on Wednesday. 

The Post’s Sunday magazine had 10 staff members lose their jobs as a result. 

"We deeply appreciate the contributions this staff has made to our print readers over the years," Buzbee said. 

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The Walt Disney Company indicated last month it would also cut jobs and implement a hiring freeze. Amazon, Apple, Meta, Lyft and Twitter are among other companies either implementing hiring freezes or letting workers go as the Federal Reserve moves to raise interest rates at the fastest pace in decades in order to combat inflation. Economists widely expect the Fed to trigger a recession with higher interest rates, which could force consumers and ultimately businesses to pull back on spending.  

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Fox Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report. 

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