The tide of job losses continues across the US newspaper industry with hundreds of jobs going from papers in Boston, Atlanta, Houston, while over a thousand staff at Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper group, told to take a second week of unpaid leave next quarter.

The New York Times is selling a small regional daily for an undisclosed price and its Boston Globe paper is looking to cut 50 jobs in its newsroom, or a hack of 12%.

The Globe‘s sales are down 11% in the past year, three times the 3.1% fall in daily sales of the Times.

The Times Co said it had agreed to sell Times Daily, a newspaper with a daily circulation of 27,800 in Florence, Alabama. It didn’t disclose the price.

Gannett will require employees to take a second unpaid leave in coming months. Gannett publishes USA Today, and it owns and operates 85 daily newspapers, 23 television stations and about 900 nondaily publications.

The Houston Chronicle and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, two of the America’s biggest selling papers, are cutting jobs,

The Journal-Constitution, owned by privately held Cox Newspapers, says it is cutting full time newsroom manning levels by 90 people or 30%.

“The AJC’s news staff will drop to about 230 full-time positions, down from about 323 currently. Staff members with five or more years with the company will be offered voluntary buyouts, with layoffs to follow if they don’t achieve the targeted cuts”, the company said.

“The company also announced it will eliminate distribution to seven more outlying counties, reducing its circulation area to 20 metro Atlanta counties, effective April 26. The cutback will pare daily and Sunday circulation by 2 percent.”

Hearst Corp’s Houston Chronicle, America’s 12th largest paper is cutting 12% of its staff, it said. That’s around 90 newsroom staff and 200 employees overall. The Chronicle last cut staff in 2004 with a 10% reduction.

Earlier this week, the Journal-Constitution laid off 48 part-time news staffers.

Hearst last week stopped printing the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and moved it online only. Hearst also has threatened to close the San Francisco Chronicle unless it can make deep cuts. And last month, another Hearst newspaper in Texas, the San Antonio Express-News, cut staff by 15%, or 165 jobs, including 30 vacancies not being filled.

And The New York Times Co, which is trying to lighten its debt load as advertising revenue falls, plans to sell the Times Daily newspaper of Florence, Alabama to a regional publisher.

The company will sell the Times Daily to the Tennessee Valley Printing Co Inc, publisher of The Decatur Daily.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey