The recent announcement that Gannett Inc. would move forward with another round of employee layoffs hit the Tallahassee Democrat when Bill Cotterell notified readers he would be leaving his post due to the belt tightening.
Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, began another round of layoffs in early December, 2022. Employees at Gannett’s newspapers, which include USA Today and the Tallahassee Democrat, were notified of the cuts as part of an effort to reduce about 6 percent of the company’s roughly 3,440-person U.S. media division.
The layoffs are the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures by Gannett, which in August eliminated about 400 jobs. More spending cuts were announced in October.
In his final column – published on December 9th – Cotterell wrote, “As I expected through rounds of belt-tightening over the last few years, I finally got caught in the wave of staff cuts recently announced by Gannett newspapers. I have no complaints, as I don’t need the income and there’s no point getting mad about the decline of print media. That would be like getting mad at gravity — ain’t nothing anybody can do about it.”
Cotterell began working with Tallahassee Democrat around 1984. His 57-year career will continue with City & State Florida – a new statewide news organization. Jim Rosica, who is the editor-in-chief of City & State Florida, recently announced he had hired Cotterell.
Rosica wrote, “Gannett’s loss is City & State’s gain. When veteran state government reporter and columnist Bill Cotterell announced he was ending his “Capital Curmudgeon” column for Florida’s USA TODAY Network, I grabbed the phone. In his final column in the Tallahassee Democrat, Bill explained that he “finally got caught in the wave of staff cuts recently announced by Gannett.” I asked him if he’d like to move to City & State Florida. He said yes.”
The Gannett cuts are a reminder of the decline in the legacy media and the associated impacts on local journalism.