Tennessean Cuts Managers, Adds Reporters In Major Newsroom Shakeup

The Tennessean newsroom will be cut by 15 percent according to plans unveiled Tuesday. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Tennessean newsroom will be cut by 15 percent according to plans unveiled Tuesday. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Just as parent company Gannett spins off its newspaper business, The Tennessean has announced cuts and a complete reshuffling of its newsroom.

Almost everyone will have to reapply for new jobs. There will be fewer managers, more reporters and columnists and a larger investigative team. But ultimately, the newsroom will shrink by 15 percent. Currently, the headcount is at 89. There are 76 positions on the new org chart.

Executive editor Stefanie Murray says the Tennessean hit a “turning point” after years of incremental cuts and reorganizations.

“None of us wants to lay anyone off and none of us wants to continue to nibble around the edges. That’s why we stepped back, we did a reset, and we looked at everything and we built what we think is a really strong news company. We’re going to test it out and go from there.”

Murray says no one is guaranteed a job and those who leave the company will get a small severance package. On the other side of the transition, Murray says she hopes to have a new organization that comes to work “loving what they do.”

“Yes, we’ve had poor morale over the last several months, several years. I’m not going to dispute that,” she says. “But what I can say from my vantage point right now, my goal is to turn it around right now and going forward make that a lot better.”

The Tennessean is one of Gannett’s five “beta markets” where it’s testing newsroom structures tailored to the digital world.

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