Oct 30 2018
06:26 am

Compass reports that Gannett has offered buyouts to all remaining senior newsroom staff at the Knoxville News Sentinel: "According to documents, the buyouts went to employees who are at least 55 years old and have logged at least 15 years of service as of Dec. 31. Those employees include McElroy and Jack Lail..."

jbr's picture

So what remains in their

So what remains in their building?

R. Neal's picture

A $40 million printing press.

A $40 million printing press.

R. Neal's picture

This article says Gannett is

This article says Gannett is shutting down the Tennessean printing press in Nashville and moving production to the KNS facility in Knoxville.


cwg's picture


That's why their press deadlines are so early. And Memphis is printed in Jackson. Both Memphis and Nashville sold their downtown buildings and are moving to 'burbs.

barker's picture


And the copy editing and page design is done in Des Moines, Iowa, unless something has changed lately.

Factchecker's picture

I don't understand this business model

So they are going to truck printed papers from Knoxville to Nashville every day and waste several hours of news, besides creating a monumental environmental waste stream?!

Glad I bailed back when the Sentinel was just a basic Republican paper for a mostly Republican audience.

barker's picture

Essentially, yes

Essentially, yes. Apparently it's cheaper to truck papers to Nashville instead of printing them there. I don't claim much knowledge of that side of the business, but I understand all too keenly the bottom-line mentality.

When I still worked there I got the feeling Gannett would like to leave the print business altogether, but they have too much capital invested in it and it still makes a little money from advertising so they don't want to just shut it down right now.

bizgrrl's picture

Trucking printed papers is

Trucking printed papers is the USA Today way. That they are very familiar. As well as generic news. They are making state news generic, just like they have done with national news. No surprise when they made the purchases. Just too bad for local news readers.

cwg's picture

They've already been doing it

They've already been doing it for months. It's why the press deadline is at 4 pm CT, and nothing that happens after that makes the print edition. (And no, I'm not kidding about 4 pm.)

jbr's picture

Researched, in depth news

Researched, in depth news articles about whatever topic are the way to go for printed news it seems to me. The concept of daily deadlines for shorter time sensitive news in print has passed. Unless the article is expanding in depth on something most folks already know. Like background on what lead up to this occurrence.

For a journalist that would seem appealing.

Rachel's picture

I dunno what the deadline is

I dunno what the deadline is here, but I'm pretty tired of seeing stories about something that happened two days ago.

Treehouse's picture

And I thought Iowa was smart

But their work is not inspiring!

Up Goose Creek's picture

Real estate

One would imagine the real estate would be far more valuable in Nashville than an industrial zone in Knoxville.

I'm not too worried about the environmental impact of a truckload of papers going between Knoxville and Nashville.

cwg's picture

oh yeah

It's been sold off for a lot. I think they're leaving building in a few months?

cwg's picture


Not a single Gannett paper will have election results in Wed. paper. (link...)

R. Neal's picture

More on Gannett election

More on Gannett election coverage...


j.f.m.'s picture

From that Scene link: "It’s

From that Scene link: "It’s almost like Gannett doesn’t want you to subscribe to their print edition anymore."

I think this is exactly the case. It's also why the print subscription rates keep going up, while they run cheap deals for online subscriptions -- they don't want to lose those readers entirely, but they want to give them every possible incentive to switch to digital. I have been saying this for a few years already, so I may be wrong again on the timing, but I'll be surprised if KNS is still publishing a print edition seven days a week a year from now.

And as co-publisher of an online-only publication, I don't blame them! Paper is expensive and, by digital standards, slow and cumbersome. Great medium for some things, but daily news is increasingly not one of them.

barker's picture


As a relatively recent Gannett layoffee (shut up, I know it's not a word), I can say that is exactly the message they're sending their journalists. Basically, they want reporters to file stories as quickly as possible for the web, but those stories might not see print for two or three days. They don't care. Clicks matter; print readers don't.

They don't want reporters covering nighttime events, including public meetings, and if they do, the reporters know anything they report likely won't be in the next day's print version.

One of the weirdest manifestations of that was the lede story in the Monday, Oct. 22, edition. It was a recap of the first two days of early voting, which started the previous Wednesday. Thing is, by the time the story came out in print, four days of early voting had passed, not two, so the story was hopelessly out of date. That tells me the story was filed during the day on Friday using Wednesday and Thursday numbers, and probably posted online in a timely fashion, but no one updated it for print over the weekend. And this was the lede print story for the day.

For those of us who worked there after Gannett took over, it wasn't surprising. I don't know what they do now, but at the time I was laid off in April 2017, only one news reporter worked on Saturday and only one news reporter worked on Sunday. There was an editor on call both days, but they weren't required to go into the office unless there was a big breaking story. If they cut the staff much further, which is their obvious intent with the buyout offers, I don't know how they can publish a print newspaper that contains any appreciable local content seven days a week.

Bottom line is, Gannett wants to get out of the print newspaper business but can't do it yet. They will eventually, though, and they're doing everything they can to make is sooner rather than later. Like my co-publisher Jesse, I am bearish on print as a medium for daily news.

Andy Axel's picture

One bystander's opinion:

It would be one thing if Gannett didn't suck so badly at digital. But suck, they do.

Factchecker's picture

I so dread clicking on their

I so dread clicking on their websites. Gannett/USA Today is the Comcast of digital media.

Rachel's picture

Scott and Jesse, If they want

Scott and Jesse,

If they want their print subscribers (like me) to switch to digital only, they're gonna have to make a hell of a lot of improvements to their website. It gets worse with every iteration.

bizgrrl's picture

Don't think it will happen.

Don't think it will happen. It is the standard USA Today formula website.

What I love at KNS is when I click to go to an article, it comes up then immediately drops/scrolls down to show an ad and I have to scroll to see the article.

barker's picture



It doesn't matter anymore what anyone at the News Sentinel wants to do or doesn't want to do. Almost all decisions are made elsewhere.

The decision to kill the copy and design desks at the News Sentinel was not made in Knoxville. The decision to blow off election results for print was not made in Knoxville. The decision to offer buyouts to the most experienced journalists at the News Sentinel was not made in Knoxville. I could go on and on, but you get my drift.

Gannett is a very top-down company and always has been.

Rachel's picture

I know this stuff. I'm just

I know this stuff. I'm just saying what they need to do to keep me as a digital only subscriber. Since Compass, I think we're about ready to throw in the towel anyway.

bizgrrl's picture

The Tennessean says, "Our

The Tennessean says, "Our journalists will cover Election Day with unmatched vigor and depth."

As readers have come to expect, you can anticipate our coverage to be reflected in real time on Tuesday, into the evening that night as well as into Wednesday and beyond, on all of our digital platforms.

Print readers can expect the focus there to be on context and analysis.

Reporters from Tennessee’s largest news organization will be deployed in every key spot in the state, and we’ll be providing unmatched analysis and insight to accompany our up-to-the-minute updates.
Tennessean website will be open and free for a 2-day period.

Then they go for the close,

With that said, I urge you to consider supporting local journalism by becoming a subscriber, either all-access (a combination of print and digital) or digital only, where we have a particularly strong deal available right now.

Andy Axel's picture

The Tennessean says, "Our

The Tennessean says, "Our journalists will cover Election Day with unmatched vigor and depth."

"....so follow them on Twitter."

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