More than 6,150 news workers were laid off amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Image: Hana Joy

Key findings:

  • At least 6,154 news organization workers, which includes both editorial and non-editorial staffers, were laid off beginning March 2020 through August 2021. 
  • At least 100 U.S. news organizations have closed throughout the pandemic, although 14 of those same outlets have since resumed operations to varying extents.
  • Another 42 outlets were absorbed by publications through mergers and acquisitions.This brings the number of news outlet eliminations up to 128. 
  • Local news outlets particularly struggled to stay afloat, running on thin margins and operating with significantly diminished staff. 
  • While the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and emergency relief funds from tech platforms helped partially mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on news organizations, in some cases it delayed layoffs and other cutbacks. 
  • A lucky number of news organizations are emerging from the economic downturn in seemingly better financial positions now than they were prior to the pandemic. Others are staffing up or have big plans for workforce growth, although these efforts are less scaled at local news outlets. 

 

Introduction 

In March 2020, The Tow Center for Digital Journalism began collecting data on U.S. newsroom cutbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. In the fall of last year, we turned more than 5,800 rows of data on individual cutbacks at news organizations into an interactive map that shows which newsrooms were affected across the country and how. 

Nearly two years after COVID-19 first brought the U.S. to a standstill, the Tow Center is releasing data on news organization layoffs that shows the scale of an industry further devastated by the pandemic. By our count, 6,154 news workers have been laid off from at least 343 individual news outlets with an additional 35 news media chains that implemented chain-wide layoffs from March 2020 through August 2021.

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These layoffs weren’t merely a reshuffling of workers across the industry. No facet of the news media workforce was unaffected, with freelance budgets cut at newspapers like the New York Post and Boulder Weekly, advertising and sales departments diminished, and editorial teams working in overdrive to cover a global health crisis with, in many cases, significantly fewer resources than before. 

Many news organizations used innovative strategies to stay afloat, like creating independent journalism funds, implementing tiered subscription models, and launching an array of newsletters and interactive mobile sites to engage readers more directly. Still, an alarming number of outlets across the country permanently closed, and entire offices were laid off. By Tow’s count, at least 100 outlets have closed at some point since March 2020, with just 14 later reopening in various capacities. Another 42 outlets were eliminated through acquisition by other publications, bringing the total number of eliminated outlets up to 128 at the time of publication.

The pandemic also impacted the news industry in uneven ways, often determined by a newsroom’s size and whether its coverage was national, regional, or local in scope. While waves of layoffs afflicted news organizations of all types, some are emerging from the later stages of the pandemic in better positions now than they were prior to COVID-19, primarily with subscriber growth, workforce size, and overall financial well-being.

 


Overview

Advertising revenues dramatically dropped as the US faced deep economic uncertainty and in-person events were cancelled in March 2020. These circumstances disproportionately impacted traditional news media, such as newspapers and magazines, which historically rely on print advertising as their main source of income. At the same time, online traffic exploded, especially at the local level, as communities sought out information about a little-known virus spreading rapidly across the country. However, this online readership growth did not directly plug the financial gap as news organizations continued to struggle to monetize digital advertising in substantial ways.

In the early days of the pandemic, internship programs across the country were suspended at newsrooms like NPR, Washingtonian Magazine, and the New York Daily News, leaving many young journalists scrambling at the beginning of their careers. Some organizations later replaced portions of their newsrooms once filled with full-time staffers with freelancers who often don’t receive the same benefits. At the Cleveland Scene, for instance, two of the five staffers who were laid off in March 2020 were later brought back—one in editorial and another in sales—to do freelance and contract work respectively. Others at news organizations like the Golf Channel, which laid off staff in June 2020 due to corporate consolidation, were encouraged to reapply for a reduced number of positions at a later date. While many outlets told the Tow Center that they’ve since resumed hiring for full-time positions or even added additional ones, countless remain vacant with workflows consolidated. 


COVID-19 aid programs and news grants 

The federally-funded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided loans to small businesses to cover employee expenses such as payroll, helped many local publications stay afloat. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 2,800 newspaper companies employing 40,000 workers received a PPP loan from March to August 2020. The Sandpoint Reader, an alt-weekly in Idaho, told the Tow Center in an email that after advertising revenue dried up and the entire staff was laid off for a short time during the first few weeks of the pandemic, the loan program offered a “big boost” towards recovery. Publisher Matt Paxton of the News-Gazette in Lexington, VA told Tow in an interview last year that as soon as the newspaper received its federal loan money on April 4, 2020, he hired back the sports writer and copy editor who had been laid off a few weeks earlier.  

PPP funding only partially mitigated the pandemic’s impact on the news business. The Tow Center learned that, in one instance, a reporter who was laid off from the Henry Daily Herald in Georgia at the beginning of the pandemic was brought back in May 2020 after the newsroom received funding from the PPP, then laid off a second time once that funding dried up in July. The program officially ended on May 31, 2021, amid an ongoing pandemic that as of November 2021 has killed more than 750,000 Americans and continues to impact the economy.

Facebook and Google also announced emergency funds for the news business. On April 7, 2020, the Facebook Journalism Project announced its COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program and COVID Community Network Grant Program. A week later, the Google News Initiative followed suit with its own Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. In an analysis by the Tow Center for our ongoing platforms and publishers series, we found that Facebook and Google committed a combined $262 million to nearly 7,000 local newsrooms and fact-checking initiatives in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic. While these emergency grants were helpful for many of its recipients, it also deepened the news industry’s reliance on platform funding.

Some news org growth during COVID-19

The pandemic, without a doubt, intensified the decades-long crisis in journalism as the news industry continues to grapple with building sustainable business models. But it also inspired experimentation, born of a fight to survive. And some news organizations are even entering a period of recovery with ambitious plans for the future despite the industry facing an existential crisis less than two years ago. 

Independent and nonprofit news organizations were better positioned to survive a crisis due to diversified revenue streams and a larger dependence on foundation and individual giving. This sector has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with at least 266 independent, digital-native news outlets starting up in the last five years and a dozen or more nonprofit news outlets launching each year since 2008. In Ohio, for instance, nearly $6 million was recently raised to form a new nonprofit newsroom with a starting staff of 25 in Cleveland next year; just last spring, Cleveland’s alt-weekly, the Scene, as well as the Plain Dealer announced pandemic-related layoffs. According to the Tow Center’s own data on news organization cutbacks amid COVID-19, only a handful of nonprofits implemented cuts, and only one nonprofit newsroom in our database laid off employees. This is in step with the Institute for Nonprofit News’ latest index report, which found that staffing at nonprofit newsrooms “held steady, and even expanded by some measures” in 2020. Total employment in 2020 increased by about 17 percent compared to the previous year, which INN primarily attributed to donor growth. 

Some newsrooms, particularly at the national level, are coming out of the other side of pandemic-induced financial turmoil with big plans for work-force growth. In late September 2020, CNN shuttered Great Big Story, a short form video news hub launched in 2015. By February 2021, CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, had laid off hundreds of employees across more than a dozen of its subsidiaries. But now, the news behemoth is preparing for its latest venture, a news-video streaming service named CNN Plus, and is currently hiring more than 200 staffers for a spring 2022 launch—the largest hiring surge since CNN’s inception in 1980. 

Growth is more sparse and less scaled across local and regional news markets. The Riverfront Times, an alt-weekly newspaper in St. Louis, told the Tow Center that despite initially laying off seven staffers in March 2020, they anticipate finishing this year with a larger editorial staff than they had prior to the pandemic. The Pulitzer-prize winning Kansas City Star announced in August 2021 that they’re doubling the size of their investigative team with nearly 12 additional reporters, less than a year after shedding its downtown office and closing its printing plant, which resulted in 124 print worker layoffs. And after years of consolidations by corporate owners like Gannett, which laid off at least 110 news organization workers from April to November 2020, some Gannett-owned community newspapers in Missouri are returning to local owners who plan to provide higher-quality journalism by staffing up their newsrooms.

 

The challenges of quantifying the scale of cutbacks

Measuring the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. news industry as a whole is complicated in large part by how diverse the news landscape is. Widely varied factors like market size, business model, and ownership structure affected news organizations in uneven ways. While some news outlets got by on thin margins and others closed their doors permanently, there are news organizations now emerging from the pandemic in strong positions and with plans for growth. Taking all of these factors into account, and the many requests the Tow Center receives asking to quantify the pandemic’s impact on U.S. news markets, we have compiled a list of layoffs—a permanent type of cutback that directly impacts workers. 

No matter how enticing it is for researchers, reporters, and readers to search for a number that can quickly convey the scale of a journalism crisis accelerated by the pandemic, no number can capture all of its complexities. Tow’s layoffs number, with all of the acknowledged shortcomings in our methodology below, attempts to quantify one way in which the pandemic has damaged the U.S. news workforce.

Methodology

The Tow Center’s layoff numbers attempt to fill in some of the gaps other news media cutbacks figures have—publicly unavailable data, ambiguous definitions of layoffs and types of organizations counted, and loosely defined date ranges—with the understanding that our count also has limitations. We are publishing our findings in a listed format so that others can see how we arrived at our total. Our hope is that people will continue to contribute information on any layoffs that may be missing from our database. 

These cutbacks were collected through various methods: Twitter announcements, media reports, press releases, WARN filings, self-reported submissions via Google form, databases generously shared with Tow, and original reporting. More than 200 combined emails were sent and phone calls were made to media organizations to inquire about and verify layoff numbers. Many in-depth interviews were conducted—primarily with publishers, managers, and staffers—to help fill in any numbers missing from our database. (At the time of publishing, we still have “unknowns” for 20 layoff entries, many of which were substantial cuts at large corporate chains.) Despite these painstaking efforts, these numbers are likely an underestimate of the total hit taken by the news industry’s labor force and may have changed since they were initially announced. And because much of our data relies on third-party sources, some of the figures may be erroneous despite our repeated efforts to verify them.

Types of workers counted

Our layoffs numbers include all media organization workers, not just newsroom staffers. News organizations consist of more than just the editors and reporters running a newsroom; without sales and ad representatives, for instance, many newsrooms cannot stay afloat. We also included both part-time and full-time workers in our count with the consideration that any loss of income has consequences, and stated when this was the case. 

Despite Tow’s best efforts, sorting editorial workers from non-editorial workers proved nearly impossible. Most announcements did not specify, and many people who were willing to speak with Tow often were not able to provide specific details or figures. 

Cutbacks counted

Many companies implemented what are considered “traditional” layoffs, or worker discharges that leave positions open until economic circumstances change, as well as position eliminations that result in permanent staff downsizing. However, we only counted “eliminated positions” in our layoffs count if it was occupied by an employee at the time of its elimination. Voluntary buyouts and retirements were excluded, even when they occurred at the same time as mass layoffs, which they often did. Furloughs were also excluded unless we could confirm they resulted in permanent layoffs. It’s likely that many media workers who were furloughed never returned to their jobs, but we found very few examples where this was publicly announced. It’s also worth noting that in some instances, news organizations characterized furloughs as “layoffs” in order for their employees to receive unemployment benefits; the few such examples the Tow Center could verify this was the case were not included in our layoff numbers. For all layoffs where the number of affected workers is “unknown,” we gave the entries a “1” value that went towards the total layoffs figure.

News organizations counted

Tow defines “news organizations” as any entity that regularly disseminates newsworthy information or current events to the general public with applied journalistic editorial standards. We did our best not to include marketing or advertising agencies, consulting firms, or broadband distributors, even if they worked within or adjacent to the news industry. Tow also did not include workers at off-site print facilities, many of which closed or merged throughout the pandemic. (Poynter, however, extensively documented newspaper plant layoffs and closures.)

Date range 

The earliest cutback in Tow’s database is from March 1, 2020. While the pandemic won’t likely have a clear “ending,” numerous variants continue to throw the nation into further uncertainty nearly two years since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US. Therefore, we are continuing to update this list, even when many layoff announcements don't neatly trace the cuts back to the pandemic. While it might be true that many of the later layoffs were not a direct result of the coronavirus, those affected were still laid off amid a global health and economic crisis. 

Other news organization cutbacks figures

On April 10, 2020, the New York Times published an article on news media outlets ravaged by the pandemic. By their estimates, roughly 28,000 workers had been laid off, been furloughed, or had their pay reduced at the time of publication. The Times has subsequently revised that upward, most recently to 37,000. In a phone interview with the Tow Center last year, the editor who oversaw the tally described it as “an imperfect but valuable number.” And the Times’ communications director said in an email to Tow that their reporting was a “conservative estimate based on public and on background comments that have been provided to Times journalists.” Many have incorrectly cited the Times’ figure though, referring to it solely as permanent layoffs when the true meaning includes dismissals, furloughs, and pay cuts—likely due to the understandable impulse to point to large figures as illustrative of the local news crisis’ magnitude.

Because the Times’ count grouped layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts together, which measures both temporary and permanent changes to the news industry, it provides limited insight into the lasting impact of COVID-19 on the news industry. The Tow Center sought out a figure that more precisely measures the pandemic’s permanent toll by isolating layoffs from other cutbacks, rather than grouping both temporary and permanent cuts together.

Other outlets have tallied up layoffs numbers, too. While reflecting on her year of covering media closures and layoffs at the end of 2020, Poynter’s Kristen Hare wrote that she had counted “4,500 layoffs and job cuts,” by the end of 2020, with at least 1,500 of those being printing press workers. (Hare has also compiled an extensive list of newsroom cutbacks since the pandemic began that has informed much of the Tow Center’s own initial cutbacks data.) 

Axios and the Wrap regularly cite year-over-year newsroom layoffs data collected by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm that studies the economy. While Challenger’s numbers have the advantage of showing how the news industry is expanding or contracting over time, neither their findings’ underlying data nor the methodology behind their layoff tallies is publicly available. (Challenger did, however, readily provide their full list of news organization cutbacks to the Tow Center upon request and willingly discussed the limitations of its own data.) This matters when trying to tease out a specific category of cutbacks—or in Tow’s case, layoffs—due to the complicated nature of classifying cutback types. A thorough review of a sample set of their data from 2020 by the Tow Center found that some of the layoffs included in their count were “temporary layoffs,” or what Tow categorizes as a furlough, rather than permanent job losses. They also included companies like the digital retail agency Triad Digital Media and Cox Corporate Services in their count. And in one case, Challenger attributed layoffs that affected more than 3,100 workers at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas to the Hearst-owned Cosmopolitan Magazine, which is headquartered at the Hearst Tower in New York City. (Challenger has since been made aware of this error and voluntarily updated its database). The differences between how Challenger and Tow define layoffs and decide who to include in our respective counts boils down to methodology and making it clear and publicly available. 

The Tow Center did, however, speak with Challenger’s vice president of public relations in fall 2020 who said that the firm collects their data through public announcements, online surveys to HR executives, and SEC filings. They also use Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications, or WARN filings, that require employers in some states to give a 60-day notice before company layoffs, which added hundreds of unannounced layoffs to Tow’s list. 

The Tow Center’s list of news worker layoffs is by no means exhaustive. It does, however, attempt to bridge the gaps between the few databases that exist and collect data critical to better understanding an industry-wide news crisis. If you notice any missing layoffs from the Tow Center’s database or would like to help make these figures more accurate, please contact us at [email protected]

News organization layoffs

The following list of layoffs are grouped by news organizations and then sorted chronologically, first by month and then by day, beginning in March 2020. Nearly every entry has a date associated with the cutback to easily search the document with the command function. If a parent company, like the newspaper chain Gannett, had chainwide cutbacks across several of its entities, the known layoffs are grouped accordingly and listed underneath their publishers’ heading. (It’s important to note that many publishing companies had more than one round of layoffs. For instance, Gannett had mass, company-wide layoffs in April 2020, but other individual Gannett newsrooms still experienced one-off cutbacks at various points throughout the pandemic.) If a layoff figure has a plus symbol next to it, this means that it’s likely the number of layoffs is much higher that what’s listed but it could not be confirmed by the news organization or parent company after multiple requests for clarification.

 

March 2020

Index Newspapers: 28

—The Stranger: 18
Seattle, WA
The Seattle alternative biweekly newspaper publicly announced on March 13, 2020 that 18 employees were being laid off due to the “hellscape” that is the coronavirus pandemic. The Tow Center learned that six of the 18 employees who were laid off worked in the newsroom, including four staff writers, the managing editor, and one copy editor. One of the staff writers was later re-hired.

—Portland Mercury: 10
Portland, OR
The alternative biweekly newspaper publicly announced on March 14, 2020 that ten staffers would be “temporarily laid off” across editorial, calendar, sales, and circulation. The Tow Center learned that these cuts later became permanent, but as of March 2021, the Mercury has hired at least one new permanent staffer and added more freelance work.

Chico Community Publishing: 60 
President Jeff Vonkaenel announced on March 17, 2020 that Chico Community Publishing would be suspending print and temporarily laying off “nearly all” of its staff, or about 60 full-time workers, across all of its News & Review newspapers in Reno NV, Chico, CA and Sacramento CA. Vonkaenel could not be reached for updates.  

Monterey County Weekly: 7
Seaside, CA
On March 17, 2020, one-third of staff across all departments were laid off at an all-staff meeting. This included a managing editor, a staff writer, two graphic designers, and three members of the sales team. The Tow Center learned in March 2021 that the Weekly has returned to nearly the same size as pre-pandemic, and they expanded the newsroom by two additional hires, including a newsletter editor.

The Washingtonian: 4
Washington, D.C.
On March 18, 2020, the “magazine Washington lives by” laid off all four of its spring fellows. 

Euclid Media Group: 58
The publisher of ten alt-weeklies, including the recently acquired LEO Weekly, laid off nearly 80 percent of its workforce on March 18, 2020 with the hope of hiring some staffers back post-pandemic. Those remaining received “significant pay cuts.” As of September 2021, the Tow Center learned that Euclid has filled around 40 to 50 percent of full-time positions left vacant by the pandemic.

—Cincinnati CityBeat: 7
The free news and entertainment newspaper laid off seven staffers across all of its departments.

—Cleveland Scene: 5
Cleveland, OH
The Ohio alt-weekly laid off five employees across all of its departments on March 18, 2020. The Tow Center learned that as of March 2021, two of the five previous laid off staffers have been brought back on in freelance capacities—one in editorial and the other in sales.

—Creative Loafing Tampa Bay: 8
The 12-person newsroom laid off seven full time employees and one part time staffer. All remaining employees received a 10 percent pay cut and were expected to take on “additional roles.”

—San Antonio Current: 10
San Antonio, TX
The Current laid off 10 employees from its sales, production, editorial and events departments on March 18, 2020. 

—Riverfront Times: 7
St. Louis, MO
Nearly the entire staff, including two sales and five newsroom workers, were laid off from St. Louis’ only alt-weekly, the Riverfront Times. Editor in chief Doyle Murphy told the Tow Center in a June 2021 email that five of the seven laid off staffers had since returned to the Times and the newspaper plans to finish the year with more staff than they had prior to the pandemic due to several new staff hires.

—Metro Times: 8
The Metro Times “temporarily” laid off eight employees across all of its department, two of which were in editorial. The Tow Center learned that as of May 2021, the newspaper was in talks to hire additional editorial staffers. 

—Orlando Weekly: 13
Orlando, FL
On March 18, 2020, the 30-year-old Florida alt-weekly laid off 13 staff across editorial, events, sales, production, and circulation. No timeline was offered to affected workers despite their “sincere hope” to bring affected employees back while remaining staffers were expected to “cover multiple roles” at the 30-year-old alt-weekly.

Isthmus: 23
Madison, WI
During the week of March 18, 2021, the 45 year old alt-weekly newspaper indefinitely ceased publication and laid off all 23 full-time employees. Isthmus has since resumed operations as a non-profit news organization relying largely on volunteer labor. 

Tampa Bay Times: 11
Tampa Bay, FL 
On March 18, 2020, the daily newspaper laid off 11 journalists and slashed three additional positions held by people with previous plans to leave. 

The News-Gazette: 2
Lexington, VA 
The Tow Center learned that on March 19, 2020, the News-Gazette laid off a sportswriter and an assistant editor. However, both staffers were re-hired roughly four weeks later.  

Northwest Quarterly Magazine: 12
Rockford, IL
The Tow Center learned that nearly all of the magazine’s staff was laid off “temporarily” in mid-March 2020, including 3 editors, two graphic designers, and seven sales team members. Only the publisher and one editor continued working full-time, with a few salespeople working on a commission-only basis. The publisher, Hugh Media Corp, could not be reached for an update on whether affected staff later returned.

Examiner Media: 24
Mount Kisco, NY
The publisher of Examiner Media, Adam Stone, told the Tow Center that four full-time news journalists and more than 20 additional contributors, mostly freelancers, were let go on March 18, 2020. Examiner Media’s total staff on their payroll has since been steadily restored to about 30 total people—similar to pre-pandemic levels—including periodic contractors.   

Sparks Tribune: 1
Sparks, NV
The rural newspaper laid off one of its three part-time employees on March 19, 2020. 

The Argonaut: 1
Los Angeles, CA
Editor Joe Piasecki was laid off on March 20, 2020. 

The Durango Herald: 5
Durango, CO
On March 20, 2020, the family-owned newspaper in Southwest Colorado laid off five staffers across its news and advertising departments. 

Easy Reader: 12
Hermosa Beach, CA
The entire staff was laid off on March 20, 2020. Publisher Kevin Cody wrote in a column that this included four reporters, two office managers, two advertising representatives, one art director, one bookkeeper, an associate publisher and the publisher. The newspaper continues to operate on a voluntary basis in what Cody calls a “hibernation period,” as he hopes to bring on paid staffers at a later date.

Los Angeles Downtown News: 2
Los Angeles, CA
On March 20, 2020, Southland Publishing laid off at least two editors from the weekly newspaper. One of the affected editors had worked at the paper for four-and-a-half years under three different owners.

Mountain Xpress: 7
Asheville, NC
The alt-weekly laid off seven staffers across its editorial, IT, advertising, and design departments on March 20, 2020.

Northwest Alabamian: Unknown
Haleyville, AL
For the first time in the publisher’s 55-year tenure, Winston County’s weekly newspaper had “a major layoff of employees” on March 20, 2020. The paper could not be reached for further clarification on the number of staffers affected.

Pittsburgh Catholic: 11
Pittsburgh, PA
In a ‘shocking’ move to staff, the Catholic newspaper terminated all employees and suspended operations indefinitely on March 20, 2020. The paper has since resumed operations, although it’s not clear when and in what capacity; they did not respond to requests for clarification by the Tow Center.  

Sample News Group: 21
On March 20, 2020, the Northeast publisher laid off 21 of 42 employees that worked across two of its Vermont-based newspapers, the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. The Tow Center learned that as of March 2021, publisher Steve Pappas had eliminated 11 of the positions left vacant but filled 10 others across all departments. He also created new advertising representative and copy editor positions.

Trib Total Media: 3
Tarentum, PA
The Southwestern Pennsylvania publisher laid off an undisclosed number of staffers on March 20, 2020. President and CEO Jennifer Bertetto told the Tow Center that the “vast majority” of the reporters affected by the cuts returned to the company within three weeks of the initial layoffs, however, a line editor, a features reporter, and a copy desk editor were permanently laid off.  

San Diego Magazine: 35
San Diego, CA
The 72-year-old magazine laid off 35 of its 37-person workforce on March 23, 2020, effectively shutting down operations. The only two remaining employees worked on the financial side. As of June 2021, San Diego Magazine is back up and running in some capacity, but the publisher could not be reached for comment.

The Plain Dealer: 32
Cleveland, OH
According to Poynter, more than 30 reporters, editors, and photojournalists were laid off in two waves at the Advance Publications-owned major daily newspaper. The first came on March 23, 2020, when 22 staffers were notified their positions were being eliminated due to “financial challenges in the newspaper business.” Then, a week later, all of the remaining journalists were offered the option to either leave the newspaper or stay, but abandon their region and beats, which were going to Advance’s non-union publication, Cleveland.com. The move was widely characterized as a union-busting tactic, and resulted in ten of the remaining 14 staffers walking away from the Plain Dealer

Providence Business Journal: 2
Providence, RI
The weekly publication suspended its print edition and laid off two employees the week of March 23, 2020.

Seven Days: 7
Burlington, VT
In a “temporary move,” the weekly newspaper laid off 15 percent of its roughly 50-person workforce on March 23, 2020. One person from each department was laid off to “minimize the impact on remaining staffers.” The Tow Center learned via email from the publisher that five of the seven laid off workers were re-hired after receiving a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and the newspaper has since hired at least two new reporters as of September 2021.

D Magazine: 15
Dallas, TX
The monthly magazine laid off 15 of its 82-person workforce across editorial, design, sales, and administrative departments on March 24, 2020.

The Sun Chronicle: Unknown
Attleboro, MAat
An undisclosed number of staffers were laid off on March 24, 2020. The Chronicle could not be reached for further clarification. 

Valley News: 6
West Lebanon, NH
Publisher Dan McClory announced layoffs on March 24, 2020. The full-time newsroom staff shrunk from 20 to 17, letting go of two sports reporters and one features reporter. Three part-time employees were also laid off. 

Buffalo Bulletin: 2
Buffalo, WY
The locally-owned weekly newspaper laid off a reporter and another staffer on March 25, 2020. 

Voice Media Group: 11
At least 11 employees were laid off across several of its six alt-weekly newspapers. 

—Phoenix New Times: 2
Phoenix, AZ
The Tow Center learned that the social audience engagement  as well as the arts editor were laid off without severance on March 25, 2020. The alt-weekly did, however, hire two new staff reporters at the beginning of summer 2020. 

—Miami New Times: 1
Miami, FL
The Tow Center learned that the alt-weekly newspaper laid off its arts and culture editor near the end of March 2020.

Warwick Beacon: 8
Coventry, RI
The publisher of the Beacon, a twice-weekly newspaper, laid off 8 staffers, including himself, on March 25, 2020. Others laid off include the general manager, a reporter, and members of the sales and production teams, although the publisher and general manager continued to work on a volunteer basis.

Rhode Island Suburban Newspapers: Unknown
A small, local newspaper chain laid off an unknown number of employees on Mar. 26, 2020. It publishes The Independent, Kent County Daily Times, the Narragansett Times, Pawtucket Times, the Westerly Sun, and the Woonsocket Call. RISN did not provide specifics to the Tow Center on the number of staffers affected.

—The Independent: 1
Narragansett, RI
At least one editorial staffer was laid off from the newspaper in March 2020, but was later hired back that May.

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles: 9
San Diego, CA
On March 26, 2020, the 41-year old magazine permanently ceased publication and nine staffers were laid off as a result.

Waterbury Record: 11
Waterbury, VT
After 13 years of operations, the weekly community newspaper published its final edition on March 27, 2020. Among those who lost their jobs was an editor, a photojournalist, and nine reporters.

Maven Media Brands: 31
On March 30, 2020, the Seattle-based media company laid off 9 percent, or 31 staffers, across its more than 300 brands, which includes publications like Sports Illustrated and Maxim.

—Sports Illustrated: 7
New York, NY
Around six percent of the sports magazine’s “already thinned” staff were let go according to the Washington Post. The total layoffs amounted to at least one business-side employee and six editorial employees.

Townsquare Media Group: 65
Radio broadcasting group Townsquare Media laid off 65 employees across its 67 markets like Buffalo, NY and Cheyenne, WY on March 30, 2020. 25 of those staffers laid off worked in the company’s corporate division. 

Pittsburgh Magazine: Unknown
Pittsburgh, PA
According to associate editor Sean Collier, most of the magazine’s staff, including the “vast majority” from the editorial department, were laid off beginning March 31, 2020. The publisher could not be reached for further clarification.

The Sentinel: 1
Carlisle, PA
The Lee Enterprises-owned newspaper laid off one person and eliminated two vacant positions in late March 2020, according to Poynter.

VT Digger: 3
Montpelier, VT
On March 30, 2020, the nonprofit newsroom laid off one full-time and two part-time employees, reducing its staff from 32 to 29. It’s one of the only known nonprofits in our database of newsroom cutbacks. 

22nd Century Media: 40
The Illinois-based newspaper chain shuttered all of its 15 weekly newspapers on March 31, 2020, resulting in job losses for around 40 staffers, 20 of which were in the newsroom. 

Beasley Media Group: 67
The radio company in markets such as Philadelphia, PA and Tampa, FL eliminated 67 positions and furloughed 18 full-time staffers on March 31, 2020; it’s not clear if those furloughed staffers ever returned. 

—Beasley Media Group - Boston: 59
According to Massachusetts’s WARN database, 59 of Beasley’s Boston-based staff were laid off on April 1, 2020; it owns six radio stations across Boston. 

Polk County Itemizer-Observer: 9
Dallas, OR
On March 31, 2020, nine non-editorial staffers were laid off. The following day, Eagle Newspapers Inc. sold the weekly paper to newspaperman Scott Olson, a sale that was in the works for more than two years.

American General Media: 30
The media company laid off 30 staffers across its Albuquerque, NM and Bakersfield, CA radio stations at the end of March 2020; It’s unclear which stations all 30 layoffs were implemented at [those known can be found below]. American General Media also has stations in Colorado that were unaffected by the March layoffs. 

—Hot AC KKRG (Mix 105.1): 1
Tony Tecate, all day play and afternoon talent, was laid off. 

—Classic Hits KABG: 1
Afternoon host George McFly was laid off. He now hosts “The George McFly Show” at the Midwest Communications-owned WIMZ radio station in Knoxville, TN.

—KKXX (Hits 93.1): 1
Bakersfield’s “afternoon personality” Drewski was laid off. 

Arizent: 27
The business news publishing chain laid off 27 of its 206-person workforce at the end of March 2020. It owns outlets like the American Banker and National Mortgage News

EO Media Group: 47
EO Media Group laid off 47 employees across its 15 newspapers and two magazines in the Pacific Northwest in late March 2020. Fourteen of those job losses were at the Bulletin in Bend, Oregon. 

Forever Media: 15
Broadcast radio chain laid off 15 employees across its stations in Wilmington and Milford, DE and Havre de Grace, MD in late March 2020. Layoffs included the marketing and event director, the promotions direction, and the creative services director. 

Times Leader: 6+
Wilkes-Barre, PA
According to Poynter, the Times Leader laid off three employees from its newsroom as well as an unknown number of staffers from its pre-press, circulation, and advertising departments in late March 2020. The newspaper could not be reached for more specifics on the exact number of layoffs. 

Ulster Publishing: 9
In late March 2020, the 47-year-old Hudson Valley newspaper chain laid off 9 positions across sales, business, production, and editorial departments across its five publications in cities like New Paltz and Saugerties. The Tow Center learned that among those laid off in editorial was a digital editor, a print editor, and a managing editor. The papers have now been consolidated into a single publication called Hudson Valley One.

Shaw Media: Unknown
The Chicago-based newspaper publisher, which owns around 80 newspapers across Illinois and Iowa, implemented an unknown number of layoffs in late March 2020. The company could not be reached for further clarification on the number of staffers affected.

The Advocate: 36
Baton Rouge, LA
The Tow Center learned that Louisiana’s largest and locally-owned daily newspaper placed 36 of its 365 employees on unpaid leave in March 2020 with benefits intact. Some of the affected staffers returned to work in July, while a small number of positions were eliminated and several others on unpaid leave decided to retire.

American Media Inc: Unknown
The tabloid publishing powerhouse gutted Radar and OK!’s digital staff throughout March 2020 alongside pay cuts for all its remaining employees by 23 percent beginning April 1 that same year. According to Page Six, so few staffers remained at Radar and OK! that the newsrooms struggled to keep operations afloat.

Butler Eagle: Unknown
Butler, PA
The family-owned daily newspaper implemented layoffs and a hiring freeze in March 2020. The Eagle could not be reached for clarification on how many people were laid off.

Lodi News-Sentinel: 5
Lodi, CA
According to Poynter, five employees were laid off during the pandemic through March 2021; one staffer worked in design, the other four were from the newsroom. 

Luxe Interiors + Design: 2
Boca Raton, FL
The Tow Center learned that the bimonthly magazine laid off two employees from its editorial and art departments in March 2020. The media company declined to comment on the layoffs.

Entrepreneur Magazine: 2
New York, NY
According to Poynter, two staffers have been laid off since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

April 2020 

Appeal-Democrat: 3
Marysville, CA
According to Poynter, three staffers were laid off at the beginning of April 2020. 

KFOR-TV: 1
Oklahoma City, OK
The Tow Center learned that one person was laid off at the beginning of April 2020. The broadcast station could not be reached for further details.

Marietta Daily Journal: Unknown
Marietta, GA
The Tow Center learned that “some” staffers were laid off with no plans to fill then-open positions at the beginning of April 2020. The publisher could not be reached for clarification on the number affected.

The Real Deal: 12
New York, NY
The Tow Center learned that 12 staffers were laid off at the beginning of April 2020. 

Sandpoint Reader: 3
Sandpoint, ID
At the start of April 2020, 75 percent of the papers’ full-time staff members were laid off, with only the editor in chief remaining. In an email to the Tow Center, the Reader’s publisher said that all three laid off workers were brought back full-time within six weeks. 

Southern Community Newspapers Inc.: 3
Layoffs were implemented in early April 2020 across some of SCNI’s seven newspapers in cities like Atlanta and Albany, Georgia. Known layoffs include former Clayton News reporter Robin Kemp and two former Henry Herald reporters. 

Atlanta Magazine: 6
Atlanta, GA
The executive editor, along with five other staffers, was laid off on April 1, 2020 after 15 years at the monthly magazine. 

MediaNews Group: 42
MNG Enterprises, which does business as MediaNews Group and Digital First Media, is the second largest newspaper publisher in the U.S. with more than 300 newspapers and publications in its portfolio. It is owned by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which has established a reputation for buying up struggling newspapers and turning them into “ghost newspapers” through sweeping cutbacks. In April 2020, MediaNews Group enacted layoffs and furloughs across some of its papers. Below is a list of known layoffs compiled by News & Tech.

—Boston Herald: 6
Boston, MA
At least half a dozen staffers were laid off on April 2, 2020, including three members of the sports department and two columnists. The Herald is a subsidiary of Digital First Media. 

—Kingston Daily Freeman: 4
Kingston, NY
The mid-Hudson Valley daily newspaper laid off four NewsGuild members on April 2, 2020, including two reporters. It was owned by 21st Century Media before it merged with MediaNews Group in 2013.

—The Denver Post: 13
Denver, CO
The nine-time Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper laid off thirteen employees on April 3, 2020, including four newsroom staffers, three assistant editors, and one editorial assistant. No reporters were affected by the layoffs. The Post is published by Denver-based Digital First Media.

—Bay Area News Group: 3
Walnut Creek, CA
On April 6, 2020, the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest newspaper publisher permanently laid off two advertising employees and a technology reporter while placing 34 additional staffers on unpaid furlough across the San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times. Bay Area News Group is a subsidiary of Digital First Media.

—Reading Eagle: 19
Reading, PA
According to a NewsGuild report, 19 staffers were laid off—ten of which were in the newsroom—on April 10, 2020. Alden claimed the layoffs “saved” the newsroom. 

Audacy (formerly Entercom): 138+
According to Insider Radio, CEO David Field announced company wide layoffs, furloughs, and scaled pay cuts in an email to staff on April 2, 2020. Field himself took a 30 percent pay reduction. Although the layoffs were “extensive,” it’s not clear which newsrooms or how many total staffers were affected. Insider Radio did, however, compile a list of 18 individuals affected by the layoffs. About a year later, Entercom changed its name to “Audacy” and streamlined its content to rebrand itself as a “modern audio company.” Audacy is now the fourth largest radio company in the U.S., operating more than 235 radio stations across 48 markets. 

—Entercom: 119
Los Angeles, CA
According to a WARN report by the State of California, the radio broadcasting giant laid off 119 staffers in just its local Los Angeles market on April 2, 2020. 

—KCBS Radio: 1
San Francisco, CA
In a series of chainwide cutbacks implemented by Entercom, sports anchor Joe Salvatore was laid off from the Bay Area radio station on April 2, 2020. 

FiscalNote: 30
FiscalNote, publisher of CQ and Roll Call, laid off 6 percent of its workforce, or 30 staffers on April 2, 2020. The entire three person investigative team as well as a print magazine worker were among those laid off. The cutbacks were implemented across the entire company, including its non-media arms. 

Pamplin Media Group: 40
The Oregon newspaper chain laid off 40 of its 200 employees, or about 20 percent of its workforce, across its 24 titles on April 2, 2020. At least 20 of those layoffs were newsroom positions.

Southern California News Group: 23
At least three people in editorial and 20 people in advertising were laid off across SCNG’s eleven Southern California-based newspapers on April 2, 2020. While the local newspaper chain warned of more layoffs in May 2020, it’s not clear if those ever came to fruition. SCNG could not be reached for further clarification.

Bustle Digital Group: 24
Amid the closing of BDG’s the Outline, the company laid off 24 employees, or about 6 percent, across the entire company on April 3, 2020. Among some of its brands are  Mic, Nylon and The Zoe Report; it’s not clear at which of its seven publications these layoffs took place.

Fauquier Times: 4
Warrenton, VA
Staff was temporarily reduced by 25 percent on April 3, 2020, which included a sports reporter, the community editor, and the production and circulation managers. The weekly newspaper could not be reached for clarification on whether any of the affected employees returned to the newsroom. 

G/O Media: 14
Publisher of digital outlets like Gizmodo and Jezebel, G/O Media, laid off 14 staffers, or around 5 percent of the company’s total workforce on April 3, 2020. 

The Acorn: 6
Thousand Oaks, CA
The Tow Center learned that 6 staffers, or around 15 percent of The Acorn’s workforce, were laid off across six of its California-based newspapers on April 6, 2020. Two of those affected were in editorial and the remaining four were in reception, accounting, and production.

Group Nine Media: 50
Company wide layoffs affected 50 staffers, or around 7 percent of its total workforce, including at least 2 food editors on April 7, 2020. GNM’s brands include outlets like The Dodo and NowThis. On September 28, 2021, Axios reported that GNM is expecting to bring in more than $200 million in revenue through the end of the year, marking the first time the company will be profitable in its five year history, and is adding over 100 jobs. 

Radio One - Urban One: Unknown
The Silver Spring, Maryland-based media conglomerate made “wide-ranging” personnel layoffs and furloughs on April 8, 2020 across its radio stations in more than 14 markets. The company, which describes itself as the “leading voice speaking to Black America,” did not provide the Tow Center with further clarification on the number of layoffs. 

McClatchy: 4
In a series of “highly targeted” cutbacks, four executive positions were eliminated on April 9, 2020. Those laid off included presidents and publishers of both The Sacramento Bee and The News & Observer, as well as its national head of business transformation and the national planning director.

The Daily Clintonian: 6
Clinton, IN
At least six staffers lost their jobs when the century-old newspaper folded on April 10, 2020, including two publishers, two reporters, a page designer, and an employee who’d been at the paper for 47 years. 

Altice USA: Unknown
The cable news television provider laid off an undisclosed number of staff from i24 and Cheddar News on April 14, 2020. The layoffs come as they consolidated Cheddar Business and Cheddar News and closed its Los Angeles bureau. Altice could not be reached for further clarification.

—Cheddar News: 45
The Tow Center learned that around 25 percent of Cheddar News’ staff across its New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles offices were laid off in mid-April 2020. Nearly a year before the cutbacks, it was reported that Cheddar News had about 180 employees

Valence Media: 8
Valence Media, which owns the Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Vibe, announced widespread layoffs across the company on April 14, 2020. At least 8 staffers were laid off from the Hollywood Reporter alone. 

Alpha Media: 4
Alpha, which operates around 200 stations across 44 markets, laid off at least four radio hosts and dissolved one morning show in mid-April 2020.

KNBC-TV: 46
Los Angeles, CA
According to a WARN report by the State of California, NBC’s West Coast flagship station laid off 46 staffers effective April 3, 2020. The station could not be reached for further clarification. 

Anchorage Daily News: 7
Anchorage, AK
Alaska’s most widely read newspaper laid off seven employees on April 7, although it's not clear from which departments. 

Adams Publishing Group: 2

—The Athens Messenger: 1
Athens, OH
The Tow Center learned that a sportswriter was laid off on April 7, 2020 after 15 years at the newspaper. The layoff was originally meant to be temporary, but the position had still not been filled as of October 2020.

—Circleville Herald: 1
Circleville, OH
The Tow Center learned that a sportswriter was laid off from the daily newspaper on April 7, 2020.

The Anniston Star: 1
Anniston, AL
Consolidated Publishing laid off a staff writer from the Anniston Star on April 10, 2020. Additionally, the Alabama newspaper company’s executive editor eliminated his own position and a 47-year veteran journalist “took the opportunity to voluntarily retire.” 

Fortune: 35
New York, NY
The magazine laid off 35 employees globally, or around 10 percent of its staff, across all departments in mid-April 2020.

BuzzFeed: 8
New York, NY
Buzzfeed decided to cease production of its daily broadcast show, “AM to DM,” on April 15, 2020 after Twitter pulled funding due to the pandemic.

California Times: 14
Los Angeles, CA
The parent company of the Los Angeles Times laid off 14 staffers without severance, including guild members, on April 16, 2020. The layoffs coincided with the announcement that three of the California Times’ alt-weekly newspapers—the Burbank Leader, the Glendale News-Press, and La Cañada Valley Sun—would be merging and operating as a subsidiary within the Los Angeles Times. Outlook Newspapers later acquired the three titles and independently resumed operations by May 2020.

NBC Palm Springs: 19
Palm Springs, CA
The Tow Center learned that 19 of the broadcast station’s 45 workers were laid off on April 16, 2020. Those who remained in the newsroom had their pay cut by two percent. The NBC local news-affiliate could not be reached for comment. 

Protocol: 13
San Francisco, CA
After only 11 weeks into operating, the tech site laid off 13 staffers on April 21, 2020 across its editorial and business teams.

Univision: Unknown
Widespread layoffs were announced on April 21, 2020 as part of a company-wide restructure due to the coronavirus-related drop in advertising. Univision could not be reached for further clarification or comment.

Gannett-owned newspapers: 81
The largest newspaper chain in the U.S., which owns 261 newspapers across 46 states, announced an unspecified number of chain-wide layoffs as early as April 24, 2020. While many of those who lost their jobs were reportedly told their layoffs were a result of the Gannett-GateHouse merger in November 2019 and was not a response to the pandemic, which a spokesperson for Gannett reaffirmed to the Tow Center, the 2020 round of cutbacks came less than a month after coronavirus-related furloughs and executive pay cuts. A source told Poynter that the layoffs took place at newsrooms with GateHouse/Gannett overlap, and as the Boston Business Journal’s managing editor Don Seiffert noted on Twitter, GateHouse media shares rose by 23% on April 27, 2020 as news of the layoffs spread. While Gannett did not provide the total number of positions eliminated as a result of the merger, the total is likely much higher than the 81 listed here, which relied on publicly self-reported layoffs that Poynter extensively documented. 

—Aberdeen American News: 1
Aberdeen, SD
Sports reporter Robb Garofalo was laid off.

—The Advertiser News: 4
Columbia, TN
At least four staffers were laid off from the weekly newspaper in editorial and circulation on April 24, 2020, according to tweets by the former managing editor. 

—Ames Tribune: 1
Ames, IA
The Tribune’s editor was laid off on April 27, 2020. The Tribune and Press-Citizen in Iowa now share a single editor with an office at the Des Moines Register

—Asbury Park Press: 1
Neptune City, NJ
The editorial page editor Randy Bergmann was laid off in late April 2020. He was the second local opinion editor at a Gannett newspaper in New Jersey to be laid off that week, following the Bergen Record.

—Austin American-Statesman: 7
Austin, TX
At least seven people were laid off from the editorial department on April 24, 2020. This included three reporters, two photojournalists, an editor, and a columnist.

—Bergen Record: 8
Woodland Park, NJ
A total of eight staffers were laid off, including a reporter, a sports writer, and a columnist and opinion editor.

—Bluffton Today: 1
Savannah, GA
At least one person—a sports reporter—was laid off at the newspaper. His position was permanently eliminated. 

—Burlington Times-News: 1
Burlington, NC
Sports editor and 25-year veteran of the Times-News, Bob Sutton, was laid off on April 24, 2020. 

—Cape Cod Times: 2
Hyannis, MA
The editorial page editor as well as the film critic and features editor were laid off on April 27, 2020.

—The City Podcast: 4
Tysons, VA
USA Today cancelled its investigative podcast about power in urban America, and at least four staffers were subsequently laid off. 

—The Coloradoan: 1
Fort Collins, CO
At least one reporter was laid off on April 24, 2020.

—Courier-Post: 1
Cherry Hill, NJ
A sports reporter was laid off after more than eight years at the daily newspaper. 

—Daily Herald: 1
Columbia, TN
A sports reporter was laid off effective immediately on April 27, 2020. 

—Democrat and Chronicle: 1
Rochester, NY
Sports reporter and columnist Leo Roth was laid off after a 37-year career at Gannett’s Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle

—The Des Moines Register: 1
Des Moine, IA
Columnist Daniel P. Finney was laid off, and his position was permanently eliminated. 

—The Desert Sun: 1
Palm Springs, CA
At least one reporter was laid off

—Erie Times-News: 1
Erie, PA
Managing editor Pat Bywater was laid off in late April 2020. 

—Farmington Daily Times: 1
Farmington, NM
At least one reporter was laid off.

—The Gadsden Times: 3
Gadsden, AL
At least three staffers were laid off, according to Poynter. 

—Gaston Gazette: 1
Gastonia, NC
At least one reporter was laid off from the daily newspaper on April 24, 2020.

—The Greenville News: 3
Greenville, SC
Poynter reported that at least three people were laid off, including two reporters and a photographer. 

—Hendersonville Times-News: 4
Hendersonville, NC
At least four staffers were laid off, including the executive editor, the chief photographer, the news page designer, and a sports editor. Two of those staffers affected also worked at Gannett’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal newspaper in South Carolina.

—Herald News: 4
Fall River, MA
At least four positions were eliminated, including the daily paper’s digital city editor position, according to The Public’s Radio.

—The Herald-Times: 2
Bloomington, IN
Senior executive editor Rich Jackson and sports editor Patrick Beane were both laid off at the end of April 2020. 

—Iowa City Press-Citizen: 1
Iowa City, IA
The Press-Citizen’s editor was laid off on April 27, 2020, leaving behind only four reporters and one photographer at the daily newspaper. The Tribune and Press-Citizen in Iowa now share a single editor with an office at the Des Moines Register

—New Jersey Herald: 2
Newton, NJ
At least two staffers—a sports reporter and an investigative reporter—were laid off on April 24, 2020. 

—The News Journal: 1
Dover, DE
At least one editor was laid off, according to Poynter. 

—The News-Star: 1
Monroe, LA
The chief photographer at the News-Star was laid off on April 27, 2020.

—Norwich Bulletin: 1
Norwich, CT
Executive Editor Jim Konrad was laid off on April 29, 2020. Konrad had worked at the Bulletin for around 27 years.  

—The Oklahoman: 3
Oklahoma City, OK
At least one photojournalist and two reporters were laid off on April 24, 2020.

—The Providence Journal: 3
Providence, RI
At least three editorial staffers were laid off in late April 2020, including columnist Kevin McNamara, who was with the Journal for 30-plus years, newsroom assistant Janet Butler, who worked for 51-years at the newspaper, and editorial page editor Ed Achorn.

—The Pueblo Chieftain: 6
Pueblo, CO
A slew of layoffs hit the daily newspaper on April 24, 2020, including three clerks, two newsroom staffers, and a news reporter. The cuts came less than a month after staff launched a workers relief fund for furloughed staff. 

—The Register-Guard: 1
Eugene, OR
The executive editor position was eliminated in addition to an unknown number of “certain jobs.” The Register-Guard could not be reached by the Tow Center for further clarification.

—The Register-Mail: 1
Galesburg, IL
At least one staffer was laid off, according to Poynter. 

—Savannah Morning News: 1
Savannah, GA
Executive editor Susan Catron was laid off and her position was permanently eliminated.  

—Southwest Times Record: 1
Fort Smith, AR
Sports reporter Kevin Taylor bid farewell to readers on May 3, 2020 in a column titled, “It’s been real, y’all,” after being laid off in late April.

—The Standard-Times: 2
New Bedford, MA
The daily paper’s regional engagement editor Beth Perdue and education editor Susan Pawlak-Seaman were notified their positions were being eliminated on April 24, 2020. Their last days were May 1, 2020.

—Sun Journal: 1
New Bern, NC
A sports reporter was laid off and his position was permanently eliminated. 

—The Tennessean: 1
Nashville, TN
A photojournalist was laid off from the daily newspaper in late April 2020.

—Tuscaloosa News: 1
Tuscaloosa, AL
The daily newspaper’s 14-year veteran sports reporter was laid off on April 27, 2020. He has since joined the Bama Central newsroom as of June 2021.

—Wicked Local: 1
Framingham, MA
Reporter Dan Mac Alpine was laid off after 30-plus years in local news according to a tweet from May 1, 2020. 

—Worcester Telegram and Gazette: 1
Worcester, MA
At least one staffer—a photographer—was laid off on April 27, 2020. 

King FM: 6
Seattle, WA 
The radio station laid off three full-time employees and eliminated two programming positions and a development position on April 29, 2020.

New York Post: 20
New York, NY
Around 20 staffers were laid off on April 29, 2020. The Post also froze all hiring and eliminated most of its freelance budget.

The Berkshire Record: 1
Great Barrington, MA
On April 30, 2020, South County’s last weekly print newspaper laid off its sports editor and announced its intention to suspend publication indefinitely. Its last article published online was on July 17, 2020. 

Sound Publishing: 70
The publisher of over 49 newspaper titles across Washington State shed 20 percent of its workforce, or around 70 staffers across all departments, in late April 2020. At least a dozen were at The Daily Herald in Everett. 

Willamette Week: 4
Portland, OR
The Tow Center learned that at least two sales representatives were laid off from the alt-weekly at the end of April 2020. Only a couple of months later, in June 2020, the newsroom hired an additional reporter to cover East Portland through Report for America. Two additional non-editorial staffers were laid off in 2021. 

LNP | LancasterOnline: Unknown
Lancaster, PA
Around 30 people were laid off or furloughed in April 2020. It’s unclear what the breakdown is between furloughs and layoffs and the newspaper could not be reached by Tow for further clarification.

Oklahoma Gazette: Unknown
Oklahoma City, OK
In April 2020, the Gazette laid off all of its staff and ceased operations. It was later relaunched and is fully operating at the time of this report’s publication. The newspaper publisher could not be reached by the Tow Center for further clarification on the number of layoffs. 

Schneps Media: Unknown
This publisher of over 50 New York City-region titles laid off or furloughed at least 20 employees in April 2020, although the breakdown of those numbers is not clear. The local news chain could not be reached for further clarification. 

Sky Magazine: 16
Atlanta, GA
The Delta Airlines-owned monthly magazine laid off all 16 of its staffers and permanently ceased operations in April 2020.

May 2020 

theSkimm: 26
The newsletter, video, and audio platform for “female millennials” laid off 20 percent of its 130-person staff, or around 25 employees, at the beginning of May 2020.

Arizona Capitol Times: 1
Phoenix, AZ
The Tow Center learned that a staff reporter, who primarily covered the governor’s office, was laid off on May 1, 2020, leaving behind only three full time staff reporters at the newspaper. 

Hubbard Broadcasting: 32
Minneapolis, MN
The television and radio broadcasting corporation laid off 20 employees across its St. Louis operations and 12 others at Hubbard Radio Chicago, including several on-air talents, on May 1, 2020.

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly: 1
Boston, MA
The Tow Center learned that at least one person—a special sections editor—was laid off from the weekly newspaper on May 1, 2020.

The Boston Globe: 2+
Boston, MA
An unspecified number of positions were eliminated on May 6, 2020. According to the union, however, at least two salespeople were affected by the cutbacks and no newsroom workers were laid off. The Globe could not be reached for more specifics.

The Guardian, California Bureau: 4
Oakland, CA
The Tow Center learned that in May 2020, The Guardian did not renew three of its fixed term contracts for a time-bound pilot project in its California bureau. A Guardian spokesperson said that while the pandemic "certainly impacted financial projections across the media sector, these contracts were always fixed term with no guarantee of renewal." One of the staffers whose contract expired tweeted on May 13, “As happy as I was last year to see the Guardian staff up a West Coast bureau in California, I’m equally disappointed to see that investment end in the face of this economic turn…”

California Sunday Magazine: 16
Palo Alto, CA
In mid-May 2020, five employees, or more than 10 percent of the former weekly magazine’s total staff, were laid off and five others were reduced to part-time. California Sunday later decided to cease publication altogether in October 2020, which resulted in at least eleven more layoffs. The magazine later went on to win a Pulitzer Prize in June 2021 for feature writing

Condé Nast: 100
The publisher of titles like The New Yorker, Vogue, and Vanity Fair laid off at least 100 US employees in mid-May 2020. They employ around 6,000 staffers worldwide. 

Quartz: 80
New York, NY
CEO Zach Seward sent an email to staff in mid-May 2020 that announced Quartz was eliminating 80 jobs. Seward said layoffs touched every team across the company, “but not evenly,” and roles that were the greatest assets to its strategy—building up subscriptions—were prioritized over those on the ad business side.

Queens Daily Eagle: 2
Queens, NY
The Queens daily newspaper, which covers what many called the “ground zero” for the coronavirus pandemic in the US, laid off two of its three-person editorial team in mid-May 2020.

WNYC: 1
New York, NY
Trump, Inc. reporter and producer Alice Wilder was laid off after ProPublica pulled funding for the podcast in mid-May 2020. 

The Economist: 90
New York, NY
Around 90 staffers, or 7 percent of the magazine’s total staff, were laid off on May 15, 2020, although none were from the editorial side. Those affected by layoffs were mostly in events, client solutions, and marketing. 

Vice Media Group: 155
Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc announced on May 15, 2020 that 55 US employees and more than 100 other staffers worldwide were being laid off due to the pandemic. 

The Plain Dealer: 4
Cleveland, OH
In what some considered a final union-busting move, Advance Publications laid off its four remaining unionized reporters from its major daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer, and offered them jobs at Cleveland.com. Its union membership was effectively dissolved after more than 80 years on May 17, 2020.

The Columbia Missourian: 1
Columbia, MO
On May 18, 2020, former digital managing editor Rob Weir was laid off from The Missourian, a digital-first community newsroom supervised by the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Atlantic: 68
Washington, D.C.
Around 20 percent of the media organization across events, sales, and editorial departments was laid off on May 21, 2020 due to a “near-complete undoing of in-person events” and a decline in advertising, according to an internal memo from Atlantic Media chairman David Bradley. 

The Weather Company: Dozens
Brookhaven, GA
The IBM-owned weather information provider slashed dozens of positions at the Weather Underground and Weather.com and shuttered its "Category Six" blogs on May 21, 2020. A spokesperson for the company said only a “very small portion” of the layoffs were specific to the editorial department.

Lake County News Chronicle: 3
Two Harbors, MN
The weekly newspaper founded in 1890 printed its final edition on May 22, 2020. A few newsroom positions were lost as a result of the closure.  

Outside Magazine: 9
Santa Fe, NM
On May 26, 2020, all four fellows were laid off and numerous editors were placed on indefinite, unpaid furlough. The Tow Center learned that the fellowship program has since been reinstated, but with one position instead of four. At least five other affected staffers decided to convert their furloughs into layoffs in the fall, when the furlough period was extended for a third time. Almost all of those positions remain vacant or have been eliminated.

CBS News: 50
New York, NY
The broadcast news network laid off around 50 employees of its more than 500-person staff at an all-staff meeting on May 27, 2020. 

The Home Magazine: 6
Mankato, MN
The free weekly shopper, which served south-central Minnesota for the last fifty years, ceased publication on May 27, 2020. The magazine employed six total staffers. 

Playboy: 25
Los Angeles, CA
Playboy laid off 25 staffers, including most of its editorial staffers, on May 28, 2020. The magazine also ceased its print editions altogether and is now digital-only. 

Microsoft News: 50
Iselin, NJ
On May 30, 2020, it was announced that around 50 positions were being eliminated in the US as part of Microsoft’s global push to rely more heavily on AI to select, edit, and curate news articles on its home page. Dozens of those laid off were in the editorial department. 

AJ Plus: 1
Washington, D.C.
The Tow Center learned that at least one full-time staffer was laid off and as many as ten contractors were let go by late May 2020 at the Al-Jazeera owned news channel. AJ+ could not be reached for further clarification.

The Corydon Democrat: Unknown
Corydon, IN
The Tow Center learned that around half the newsroom was laid off in late May 2020. The weekly newspaper could not be reached for further clarification. 

KCBS-TV: 4
Los Angeles, CA
The local news station lost three prominent news anchors and one meteorologist among the corporate-wide layoffs.

ViacomCBS: 400
The broadcasting giant slashed 400 jobs in late May 2020, about 50 of which were in the CBS News division. 

KDKA-TV: 2
Pittsburgh, PA
Amid national cuts, the local CBS news station laid off Susan Koeppen, a late-night anchor with KDKA since 2011, and Rick Dayton, a morning time anchor at the station since 2009. 

Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.: Unknown
Montgomery, AL
CNHI, which owns 89 local news outlets across 21 states, implemented layoffs, pay cuts, and furloughs in May 2020. The newspaper chain could not be reached for a further breakdown of the layoff numbers.

St. Louis Public Radio: 5
St. Louis, MO
The public radio station laid off three full-time and two part-time employees. 

Weekly Alibi: Unknown
Albuquerque, NM
An unspecified number of staffers were laid off at the NuCity Publications-owned newspaper. The publisher could not be reached for further layoff clarifications.

 

June 2020

The Athletic: 46

San Francisco, CA
The sports media outlet laid off nearly 8 percent of its staff, or 46 people, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios in early June 2020.

mlb.com: 20
New York, NY
The Tow Center learned that some seasonal mlb.com employees were first furloughed on April 1, 2020 and then formally laid off on June 1. 

C-Ville Weekly: 7
Charlottesville, VA
The weekly newspaper laid off one-third of its “already small staff” of at least seven staffers on June 10, 2020. The Tow Center learned that C-Ville Weekly has since hired two of the laid off sales workers back and hired two part-time editorial staff members. Art-related content is now being written on a freelance basis. 

Hawaii News Now: 31
Honolulu, HI
The multimedia news organization that operates KGMB (CBS), KHNL (NBC) and K5 laid off 29 full-time employees and 2 temporary employees affiliated with ProPublica in mid-June 2020. The layoffs included reporters, photographers, graphic artists, page designers, and online producers, according to Pacific Business News. 

WBUR: 29
Boston, MA
More than 10 percent of staff, including several newsroom leaders, were laid off from the Boston University-licensed public radio station in mid-June 2020. It also ended production of its “Kind World” podcast and dropped its nationally syndicated “Only a Game” program as a result of restructuring "made more drastic by the coronavirus-induced recession."

WBEZ: 12
Chicago, IL
Chicago Public Media laid off 12 staffers on June 16, 2020 after a 20 percent revenue decline in the wake of pandemic-related shutdowns. None of the layoffs affected newsroom positions.

Minnesota Public Radio: 28
St. Paul, MN
MPR and American Public Media laid off 28 staffers and implemented “voluntary separations and furloughs” on June 16, 2020 The radio station also ended "The Hilarious World of Depression" podcast as well as national production of the Saturday in-person entertainment show "Live from Here.”

Gannett (Corporate): 1
Tysons, VA
In a decision to streamline Gannett’s operating structure, the company eliminated the CEO position for the Operating Company on June 18, 2020, resulting in the “mutually agreed upon” departure of Paul Bascobert.

Roberts Media: 2
Longview, TX

—The Victoria Advocate: 1
Victoria, TX
Editor and Publisher Chris Cobler announced on June 20, 2020 that his position was eliminated from the Advocate due to “financial reasons intensified by the pandemic.”

—Longview News-Journal: 1
Longview, TX
In a June 21, 2020 announcement, editor Ric Brack’s position was eliminated amid a newsroom restructure aimed at bolstering newspaper operations. 

KPBS: 3
San Diego, CA
The San Diego State University-owned public broadcasting station laid off three union staffers on June 22, 2020 and halved hours indefinitely for 15 other employees effective July 1. 

Fox Sports: 20
Los Angeles, CA
Due to “poorly rated studio shows on boxing, WWE and soccer,” 20 producers and on-air talent lost their jobs on June 23, 2020. Fox did not attribute the cuts to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The New York Times: 68
New York, NY
After alluding to layoffs in May due to coronavirus-related economic upheaval, the Times laid off 68 staffers, mostly in advertising, on June 23, 2020. No employees from the newsroom or opinion sections were affected.

Houston Public Media: 23
Houston, TX
The radio station eliminated 8 full-time positions and let 15 part-time staffers go on June 23, 2020.

Atlas Obscura: 15
Brooklyn, NY
In late June 2020, 15 employees were laid off, including five newsroom staffers. 

Golf Channel: Unknown
Orlando, FL
In a corporate consolidation move, the NBC-owned sports television network announced in late June 2020 that it was laying off most of its staff at its Orlando headquarters effective August 29.  All staffers affected were told they could reapply for what jobs remained after position eliminations.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: 12
Honolulu, HI
Hawaii’s largest daily newspaper announced it was laying off 29 journalists, including the healthcare reporter, by the end of June 2020. However, only 12 journalists ended up “voluntarily” exiting the paper.

 

July 2020 

Buffalo-Toronto Public Media: 5
Buffalo, NY
The public broadcasting station laid off three full-time staffers and severed contracts with two others at the beginning of July 2020.

The Elkhart Truth: 3
Elkhart, IN
The northern Indiana daily newspaper laid off a reporter and an editor and eliminated a position in advertising in early July 2020.

The Hammond Daily Star: 2
Hammond, LA
The Tow Center learned that a receptionist and a member of the sales team were laid off in July 2020. The Hammond Star has also lost a reporter who voluntarily left the newspaper, but as of September 2021 his position remains unfilled.

KTVU-TV: 4
Oakland, CA
The Fox-owned Bay Area television station laid off four employees, including sports anchor and reporter Scott Reiss, veteran sports producer Pete Lupetti, a special projects staffer, and a senior producer at the beginning of July 2020. 

Jewish Week: 3
New York, NY
Two full-time employees and one part-time employee were laid off on July 7, 2020. The print edition was also suspended indefinitely in what the newspaper characterized as a “new direction” towards a digital-first enterprise.

Cumulus Media: 94
Atlanta, GA
On July 10, 2020, the radio broadcasting company laid off approximately 3 percent of its staff, which amounts to around 94 employees, according to Inside Radio. At least 13 affected staffers were at the now-defunct Westwood One News Network.

McClatchy: 84
Sacramento, CA
Of the 115 staffers placed on pandemic leave in April 2020 across McClatchy’s 30 newspapers, 84 were permanently laid off in mid-July. Only 25 of the remaining 31 furloughed staffers decided to return to the newspaper chain.

The Miami Herald: 12
Doral, FL
All twelve staffers in the advertising department were cut in mid-July 2020. 

Vox Media: 72
Vox Media, an American mass media company that owns publications like New York Magazine and SB Nation, laid off around 6 percent of its 1,200-person workforce on July 16, 2020. The majority of affected employees were previously furloughed in April 2020, according to CNN. 

Buzzfeed: 50
New York, NY
Of the 74 staffers previously furloughed in May 2020, 50 were permanently laid off on July 23, 2020. These layoffs accounted for nearly 6 percent of their US-based staff. 

Fox Sports: 50-100
Los Angeles, CA
In a delayed restructuring and streamlining effort due to Disney’s acquisition of the network in 2019, the regional broadcaster laid off 50 to 100 employees on July 24, 2020. The July layoffs came only a month after 20 talent producers were laid off from Fox Sports’ boxing, soccer, and WWE divisions due to low ratings. Fox Sports could not be reached by the Tow Center for a more precise layoffs figure.  

Vermont Community Newspaper Group: 6
Stowe, VT
The Vermont media company laid off about one-third of its editorial staff across all five of its weekly newspapers on July 24, 2020. The company’s top editor, an assistant editor, a reporter, and a part-time editor were among those affected in July, with another two graphic designers laid off earlier in mid-March 2020. VCNG publishes the Stowe Reporter, News & Citizen, Shelburne News, The Citizen, and The Other Paper

Metro Corp: 8
The lifestyle magazine publisher eliminated eight positions across its Philadelphia Magazine and Boston Magazine offices on July 28, 2020.

New York Post: Unknown
New York, NY
Following earlier layoffs in April 2020, an additional 5 percent of New York Post staff from commercial, operations, and editorial were laid off in late July 2020. 

The Park Record: 2
Park City, UT
The Swift Communications-owned twice-weekly newspaper laid off at least two staffers in July 2020.

The Post and Courier: 4
Charleston, SC
The South’s oldest daily newspaper laid off four staffers, including Pulitzer-prize winning digital editor J. Emory Parker in late July 2020. 

 

August 2020

NBCUniversal Media: 81
Beginning on August 3, 2020, NBCUniversal implemented a series of anticipated layoffs across its local sports and cable channels, broadcast networks, movie studios, and theme parks. According to the Wall Street Journal, NBCU experienced a 25 percent decline in revenue in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic-related economic downturn. The layoffs affected less than 10 percent of its overall workforce of about 35,000 full-time employees. The company also shut down many of its sports-specific digital sites, such as Hardball Talk, College Basketball Talk, and College Football Talk, according to Awful Announcing.

—NBC Sports Bay Area: 17
San Francisco, CA
At least 17 staffers were laid off on August 3, 2020, including one on-air personality who was notified her contract would not be extended. 

—NBC Sports Boston: 20
Burlington, MA
Around 20 on-air and behind-the-scenes employees were laid off throughout the week of August 3, 2020. Layoffs included longtime anchor Gary Tanguay and Celtics reporters Abby Chin and A. Sherrod Blakely, according to the Boston Globe. The layoffs came one week after the NBA relaunched its season that was delayed by the pandemic.

—NBC Sports Chicago: 12
Chicago, IL
Around 12 employees were laid off from the regional sports broadcast network on August 4, 2020.

—NBC Sports Philadelphia: 15
Philadelphia, PA
At least fifteen employees, or nearly 11 percent of the local sports network, were laid off on August 4, 2020. Those affected were mostly in digital and technical areas, although some on-air talent and veteran reporters were also laid off.

—NBC Sports Washington: 10
Bethesda, MD
At least ten people were laid off on August 3, 2020, including the Capitals’ pregame and postgame shows co-host Rob Carlin. Other on-air talent including Michael Jenkins and Sara Perlman were also laid off. 

—NBC5 Chicago, Telemundo Chicago: 7
Chicago, IL
At least seven employees, primarily in technical areas, were cut across NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and Telemundo WSNS-Channel 44 on August 4, 2020. No on-air talent was affected.

Chronicle-Express: 3
Penn Yan, NY
The Gannett-owned newspaper laid off three employees and eliminated their positions on August 5, 2020, including publisher Karen Morris, sales manager Candy Scutt, and sales executive Cheryl Mason.

G/O Media: 15
G/O Media implemented another round of layoffs on August 7, 2020, which included 15 employees from their video department to allegedly “invest in other areas” of the company. The initial round of layoffs occurred at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

KQED: 20
San Francisco, CA
The NPR and PBS member station for Northern California laid off 20 employees, nearly 6 percent of its total staff, on August 10, 2020. Several others’ hours were reduced. 

ABC 7 Chicago: 5
Chicago, IL
At least one part-time and four full-time employees were terminated from the local broadcast station on August 12, 2020. None of the positions affected were from the editorial department. 

Bleacher Report: 10
New York, NY
In an effort to wind down the Bleacher Report’s longform publication, B/R Mag, the company laid off ten editorial staffers on August 24, 2020. Layoffs included editor-in-chief Ben Osborne, two senior writers, a senior editor, the deputy managing editor, and five writers. 

ViacomCBS: 12
Los Angeles, CA
According to a WARN report by the State of California, twelve California-based employees were laid off from the global media company effective August 28, 2020. 

A360 Media: 20
Boca Raton, FL
At least 20 staffers were laid off throughout August 2020 at the Boca Raton office in the weeks leading up to the merger of American Media and Accelerate 360. The hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, known for buying up newspaper chains then stripping assets and implementing deep cuts, owned 80 percent of American Media prior to the merger. 

Community Impact Newspaper: 21
The hyperlocal newspaper chain (with a coverage area of 54 communities across Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee) laid off 21 staffers in August 2020, per Poynter.

 

September 2020

Lee Enterprises: 66

—Roanoke Times: 12
Roanoke, VA
In an attempt to consolidate newspaper design in the midwest, Lee Enterprises eliminated 10 copyediting and design jobs at the Roanoke Times, or around 20 percent of the newsroom’s unionized workforce, in early September 2020. Then, on September 25, the media chain laid off two of the Times’ managers, including its only sports editor on the day before college football season’s kickoff.

—The Daily Progress: 2
Two union members—one digital content coordinator, the other a staff writer—were laid off at the Charlottesville newspaper on September 11, 2020 without any prior notice. The Daily Progress all in all lost seven union positions since July 2020.

—Richmond Times-Dispatch: 5
The Times-Dispatch laid off at least five members of its bargaining unit on September 11, 2020.

—The News & Advance: 5
Lynchburg, VA
The daily newspaper of record for Lynchburg laid off two editors, a page designer and two circulation clerks on September 14, 2020, according to Virginia Business

—The Free Lance-Star: 1
Fredericksburg, VA
The newspaper’s digital editor, Dave Ellis, was laid off in mid-September 2020.

—Greensboro News & Record: 5
Greensboro, North Carolina
The North Carolina newspaper laid off at least five people on September 16, 2020. Among those affected were three sports writers. 

—Winston-Salem Journal: 3
At least three people were laid off on September 16, 2020, according to Poynter.

—Casper Star-Tribune: 1
The Casper News Guild reported that Lee Enterprises laid off one union member and one of the newspaper’s longest tenured reporters of 13 years, on September 17, 2020.

—Grand Island Independent: 1
On September 21, 2020, one person was laid off from the daily newspaper in Grand Island, NE.

—The Pantagraph: 2
Two people were laid off from the Pantagraph on September 21, 2020. The newspaper provides coverage for Bloomington, Normal, and Central Illinois.

—Herald & Review: 1
The Decatur, IL newspaper laid off at least one person on September 21, 2020. 

—Missoulian: 2
Western Montana’s largest daily newspaper laid off a part-time photographer and a copy and design desk staffer on September 25, 2020. 

—Tulsa World: 17
At least 10 journalists were laid off from the Tulsa, OK newspaper on September 28, 2020. Earlier in the year, in March 2020, seven staffers were laid off from the newsroom’s design desk.

—The Glens Falls Post-Star: 2
The upstate New York newspaper laid off two people in late September 2020.

—Capital Newspapers: 1
Madison, WI
At least one staffer was laid off from the Wisconsin newspaper chain at the end of September 2020, which operates 27 publications across the state as a partnership between The Capital Times Company and Lee Enterprises.

—Ladue News: 1
St. Louis, MO
The biweekly lifestyle magazine laid off at least one person at the end of September 2020.

—Omaha World-Herald: 1
At the end of September 2020, the World-Herald laid off Jeffrey Koterba, a cartoonist who had worked at the newspaper for over 31 years.

—Scottsbluff Star-Herald: 2
The Nebraska newspaper laid off two people in September 2020, according to Poynter.

—St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 1
A digital sports editor position was eliminated in September 2020.

—Quad-City Times: 1
Davenport, IA
One person was laid off in September 2020, according to Poynter. 

TEGNA: Unknown
A reorganization of the broadcast and digital media giant’s local and national sales teams led to an unknown number of layoffs at the beginning of September 2020, according to Poynter. A TEGNA communications officer, who would not provide the number of workers affected, told the Tow Center in an email that there were no layoffs during this time that were “due to COVID.” TEGNA operates in more than 54 markets across the country.

Bloomberg Industry Group: 21
The publisher of Bloomberg Law, Bloomberg Tax, and Bloomberg Government laid off 21 workers in mid-September 2020. Its union said that the majority of these layoffs affected its lowest paid employees and minority workers. 

KFGO: 1
Fargo, ND
The Midwest Communications-owned radio station laid off one person and eliminated a vacant position, according to Poynter. 

Fox News: 270
In a restructuring of its businesses intended to “streamline multiplatform organization,” Fox News Media laid off around 3 percent of its 9,000 person staff on September 16, 2020. No on-air talent was affected. 

Meredith Corporation: 180
The largest US magazine publisher, which owns titles like InStyle and Entertainment Weekly, laid off 180 of its staffers across its local and national brands on September 17, 2020. Meredith was purchased by Dotdash, a company that specializes in digital media, in October 2021 for $2.7 billion and will operate as Meredith Dotdash.

The Poynter Institute: 1
St. Petersburg, FL
An administrative staff member was laid off from the Poynter Institute.

Adweek: 1
New York, NY
The advertising trade publication laid off its diversity and inclusion reporter on September 22, 2020.

Great Big Story: 45
New York, NY
CNN announced it was shuttering its short-form video news hub on September 23, 2020. According to New York State WARN filing obtained by the Tow Center, 45 staffers were laid off effective December 31. 

Philomath Express: 1
Brad Fuqua, the sole editor, sole reporter, and chief photographer throughout the weekly newspaper’s five year existence, was laid off when the Express bid farewell to the community on September 23, 2020.

Digital Trends: 17
Portland, OR
In what was described as a “strategic shift” in business, the tech news site laid off 17 staffers and severed ties with an unknown number of freelancers on September 30, 2020. The layoffs represented about one-third of Digital Trends’ staff and affected the news department, a video game editor, an audio-visual editor, and its daily live show’s host and crew.

 

October 2020

Lee Enterprises: 7

—The Daily Progress: 4
Lee Enterprises laid off the entire four-person copy desk at the Daily Progress in early October 2020. 

—Sioux City Journal: 2
The Iowa-based daily newspaper laid off two staffers on October 1, 2020.

—The Floyd Press: 1
In mid-October 2020, Lee Enterprises laid off reporter Ashley Spinks after an interview with WVTF about being a “one-person newsroom.” Her termination sparked outrage, which led to a profile on Spinks by the Washington Post.

Pop Up Magazine Productions: 11
Palo Alto, CA
Shortly after the Emerson Collective cut ties with the magazine production company in August, 11 employees across California Sunday Magazine and Pop Up Magazine were laid off on October 5, 2020. According to the production company’s union representatives, at least three of those layoffs were at Pop Up Magazine, all on the production team; California Sunday Magazine permanently closed. Pop Up Magazine returned from its hiatus in November 2021.

TV Guide: 1+
Wayne, PA
The former features editor was laid off along with the “majority” of her colleagues on October 8, 2020. TV Guide could not be reached for further clarification.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: 5
Philadelphia, PA
According to the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, the Lenfest Institute-owned Inquirer laid off five people in mid-October 2020. It also offered buyouts to all employees, of which at least two staffers accepted by June 2021.   

Southwest Journal: 11
Minneapolis, MN
All five members of the editorial team were laid off in mid-October 2020 except for the paper’s editors and designers, relying solely on freelance reporters to keep the biweekly newspaper afloat through the end of the year. When operations finally ceased altogether, 11 total staffers lost their jobs. It was one of Minneapolis' last neighborhood newspapers. 

NBCUniversal: 93
Universal City, CA
According to a WARN report by the State of California, the media conglomerate laid off 93 staffers effective October 16, 2020. 

City Pages: 30
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
The free alt-weekly newspaper shuttered on October 28, 2020 and 30 staffers subsequently lost their jobs. After 41 years of operating, the Twin Cities no longer has an alt-weekly serving the community.

 

November 2020

iHeartMedia: 125
According to a round-up by Radio Insight, iHeartMedia laid off at least 125 staffers beginning in November 2020 up and down its stations across 153 markets in the US due to a pandemic that lasted “deeper and longer” than previously expected. Many of those laid off had already been on indefinite furlough. The cutbacks hit stations in markets of all sizes, from cities like Mobile, AL to Chicago, IL. 

Spectrum News 1 North Carolina: 4+
Greensboro, NC
The Tow Center learned that videographers, assignment editors, reporters, and producers were laid off at the beginning of November 2020. Only five full-time editorial staff remained at the time, which included two producers and three reporters. The local cable news station could not be reached for comment.

ESPN: 300
On November 6, 2020, the Walt Disney Company-owned sports media giant laid off 300 employees, or about 6 percent of its worldwide workforce, while 200 additional open positions remained unfilled. 

Del Rio News-Herald: 10
Del Rio, TX
The newspaper published its final edition on November 18, 2020 and all ten of its staffers were laid off. The paper dates back to 1884 and was owned by Southern Newspapers Inc.

Aitkin Independent Age: 4
Aitkin, MN
The Aitkin County paper of record laid off one part-time and two full-time reporterst as well as an additional staffer in the front office. The newspaper has been in operation since 1883 and is owned by Adams Publishing Group.

The Courier-Tribune: 25
Asheboro, NC
The Tow Center learned that the only daily newspaper in Randolph County, North Carolina went from 29 full-time employees down to 1 part-time employee and three regional reporters. The newspaper operates under Gatehouse Media, which merged with Gannett in 2019; the Courier-Tribune could not be reached for comment.

 

December 2020

Walt Disney Company: 45+
In September 2020, Disney projected the layoffs of more than 28,000 employees, mostly but not limited to workers from its theme park divisions. The layoff projections then jumped to 32,000 in November 2020, and on December 3, 2020, layoffs swept across the company in a restructuring effort for “long-term” growth. According to the Wrap, the number of affected staffers in Disney’s 1,300 person news division was in the “low single digits.”

—FiveThirtyEight: 1
New York, NY
At least one staffer was laid off at the beginning of December 2020. He was the MLB sports writer for the data-driven news site. 

—ABC News: 7
New York, NY
An unspecified total number of staffers in ABC's news division were laid off on December 3, 2020. Among those known to be affected were three correspondents, three executive producers, and the senior executive producer for “The View.”

—National Geographic: 1
New York, NY
The Walt Disney Company-owned monthly magazine eliminated a video producer’s position on December 3, 2020.

—Radio Disney, Radio Disney Country: 36
Burbank, CA
On December 3, 2020, Disney announced it was shuttering the two radio networks as part of the company’s ongoing restructuring efforts, affecting 36 full-time and part-time staffers. The radio station officially ceased operations in February 2021.

Daily Hampshire Gazette: 10
Northampton, MA
On December 29, 2020, ten staffers were laid off from the Gazette: eight in editorial, one in advertising, and another in commercial printing. One of the staffers whose position was eliminated was newly appointed editor-in-chief Brooke Hauser, the first permanent female editor in the newspaper’s 235-year history; more than half of those axed were in the union bargaining unit. The Gazette is owned by Newspapers of New England, a chain that owns nine daily and weekly newspapers across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

2021

 

January 2021

Gainesville Register: 1
Gainesville, TX
The Tow Center learned that the advertising director was laid off at the beginning of 2021. 

NBC Sports Chicago: 3
Chicago, IL
On January 21, 2021, a Blackhawks reporter and two Bears reporters were laid off. The cuts came only five months after 12 staffers were laid off from the regional sports broadcast network in August 2020.

 

February 2021

Bloomberg News: 90
In a company-wide restructuring, the financial news company eliminated around 90 positions globally on February 11, 2021; editors were disproportionately affected by the layoffs. Bloomberg’s editor in chief, John Micklethwait, said in the memo announcing the cutbacks to its staff that he hoped to end 2021 with as many journalists as the news organization had prior to the pandemic.

WarnerMedia: 253
New York, NY
According to a New York State WARN filing obtained by the Tow Center, the mass media company began laying off 253 employees across 15 of its subsidiaries in New York City on February 20, 2021. News organizations such as CNN and Bleacher Report are among the 29 brands it owns and operates. Layoffs impacting WarnerMedia’s entertainment subsidiaries were excluded from our count.

 

March 2021

Sinclair Broadcasting Group: 460
Citing the economic impacts of COVID-19, the broadcasting giant laid off around 5 percent of its more than 9,200 person workforce at the beginning of March 2021. Sinclair owns 186 television stations across 87 markets in cities throughout the US. 

City Monitor: 7
New York, NY
The Tow Center learned that the US-based, urban-focused vertical for the British New Statesman laid off all seven staffers when it ceased operations on March 2, 2021, only five months after its mid-pandemic launch. It had promised at least some staff a multi-year timeline of employment. 

NBCUniversal: 130
Digital News Daily reported on March 8, 2021 that at least 130 employees had been laid off since the start of the year; around 50 of those layoffs occurred in early February. Most of the layoffs have been “within the company’s linear TV production,” but did not affect any New York-based employees.

Huffpost: 47
New York, NY
A 25 percent workforce reduction resulted in 47 staffers being laid off on March 9, 2021, including eight in management positions and 33 members of the union. HuffPost Canada was also shuttered in April. The digital news site was acquired by Buzzfeed only three weeks prior to the cutbacks and suffered $20 million in total losses in 2020.

MEL Magazine: 9
Venice, CA
On March 24, 2021, MEL Magazine’s former owner, Dollar Shave Club, implemented layoffs affecting at least nine staffers and announced it was suspending publication indefinitely. Later, in July 2021, Recurrent Ventures acquired MEL Magazine, bringing the magazine back to life and hiring back about 18 of the roughly two dozen staffers originally laid off.

 

April 2021

Roanoke Times: 9
Roanoke, VA
After axing 12 copy editors and design workers in September 2020, the Lee Enterprises-owned newsroom laid off an additional nine of its 46 remaining staffers on April 12, 2021. The union staffers affected represented more than 20% of the union and the total newsroom has been slashed by more than 25% since early 2020.

New York Public Radio: 14
Citing financial challenges throughout the pandemic and a mounting deficit, New York Public Radio told staff in a memo on April 30, 2021 that 14 positions were being eliminated. At least four laid off employees were in news departments across Gothamist and WNYC, including WNYC producers Richard Yeh and Allie Pinel, as well as Gothamist editor in chief John Del Signore and editor Christopher Robbins.

 

May 2021

North Missourian: 10
Gallatin, MO
The weekly newsletter, which has served Daviess County since 1864, ceased operations on May 26, 2021. Tow learned that the closure affected six full-time staffers and at least four part-time workers. 

 

June 2021

New York Daily News: 4
New York, NY
The newspaper’s summer internship program was cancelled shortly after the hedge fund Alden Global Capital bought Tribune Publishing. It affected at least four journalists who had accepted offers.

 

August 2021

Bklyner: 4
Brooklyn, NY
On August 26, 2021, the editor and publisher of the neighborhood news site announced that the digital news site would be indefinitely suspended beginning September 10. At least four staffers were affected by the closure.  

Vice Media Group: 18
New York, NY
On August 26, 2021, the digital media company laid off 18 full-time staffers and cut ties with several freelancers and contract workers across Vice and Refinery29. This series of cuts follows layoffs that affected around 155 employees in May 2020. Refinery29 was acquired by VMG in October 2019.

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Gabby Miller is a Senior Reporting Fellow at the Tow Center studying newsroom cutbacks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.