Gannett layoff ax hits Herald-Times during nationwide cuts

At least two local journalists were laid off in Gannett company-wide cuts that have hit the local newspaper, the Herald-Times, on Friday, August 12, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Gannett laid off local journalists at newspapers it owns across the United States. The Bloomingtonian learned education reporter Christine Stephenson, and a high school sportswriter were laid off Friday. A regional sports editor was also cut. It’s unclear how the Gannett-owned local newspaper the Herald-Times will cover the upcoming fall high school sports season after the loss of a sportswriter, and the regional sports editor. A sports journalist at the Times-Mail, in Bedford, was also laid off whose Gannett page days he worked in journalism for over 40 years. The loss of the education reporter will also make finding out about happenings in the local schools much more difficult. Recently, Stephenson was covering the first day of school when buses were over an hour late due to driver shortages in the MSSCS district, and other issues. The Herald-Times, sold by the Schurz family to GateHouse in 2019, once boasted one of the best sports reporting teams for a paper its size in the entire United States. The newspaper covered all Indiana University men’s basketball games, and football games, and had a private pilot on standby. Typically, a photographer and two IU beat sports writers covered every game. Meanwhile, several more writers covered local and high school sports, and a reporter could be found at every BHSN and BHSS football and boys basketball game, whether at home or on the road. Local high school basketball teams were covered from White River Valley, west of Monroe County, to Nashville in Brown County, to the east. Now the HT has just one IU beat writer and one high school sportswriter. The HT also covered local education with a reporter dedicated only to covering local schools in Monroe, Owen, Greene, and Brown counties, while another writer covered Indiana University, full time. It’s unclear now who will cover MCCSC school board meetings or any of the news in local education. The MCCSC has a public relations representative, who often doesn’t answer e-mails, but the HT seemingly will no longer have a reporter dedicated to keeping local school districts accountable. Typically, the writer who covered IU men’s basketball didn’t also cover the women’s team, but that was left to another reporter. With high school happening sometimes at the same times as IU basketball, women’s basketball, and IU soccer, it’s unclear how one local sports reporter, and one IU beat reporter, can cover everything effectively. Even when the paper was fully staffed in the sports department, some writers routinely worked more than 40 hours per week. The Herald-Times building, which formerly had an operating press, recently was listed for sale. Here is the listing: Meanwhile, as Gannett lays off journalists across the United States …….

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