The Asbury Park Press is among four Gannett Co. newspapers in New Jersey that laid off a total of 55 employees yesterday, the Press itself reports.


The axe fell after half of 166 workers offered early retirement three weeks ago accepted the packages, the paper reports.

In addition to the Press, the affected newspapers are Home News & Tribune in East Brunswick, the Courier-News in Bridgewater and the Daily Record in Parsippany.

No breakdown of layoffs at each paper was given. Gannett describes the Press, which is still the dominant daily in Monmouth and Ocean counties, as the ‘flagship’ among its six New Jersey papers.

The report doesn’t say why Gannett is cutting jobs, but the newspaper industry is being battered by plummeting ad sales and loss of readership to online alternatives.

Thomas M. Donovan, publisher of the Press and vice president of GannettÂ’s East Newspaper Group had this to day:

We will continue to focus our existing resources on accelerating our audience growth with non-daily products, online offerings and enhanced daily newspapers. These necessary reductions and shifts in our operations will position us for a better performance for the remainder of 2008 and beyond.

Gannett, based in McLean, Va., publishes 85 daily newspapers in the U.S., including USA Today, the nation’s largest-selling daily.

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