Cruel cuts at Gannett

It’s been a hard week at Gannett newspapers, where at least 2,000 people found out that they were losing their jobs. The independent Gannett Blog has documented the layoffs in detail, and it’s a depressing and horrifying experience to read the posts there.

Copy editors haven’t been exempt from the mayhem. In fact, at some Gannett papers, they are are bearing the brunt of the cuts. The Cincinnati Enquirer, for example, laid off news editor Kathy McDermott, who oversaw the editing for the front page. Copy editors in news and features were let go. The paper also said farewell to business editor Carolyn Pione, who has a strong background in copy editing.

It’s an alarming decision, particularly given Gannett’s emphasis on shorter stories and alternative story forms (or “charticles,” as the company prefers to call them). Those types of stories require especially careful editing. With fewer copy editors in newsrooms, Gannett papers will likely see a decline in their quality.