Jim Hopkins' Gannett Blog and some local sources are reporting The Enquirer has laid off between 5 to 7 people this week.
Two of the casualties were the person in charge of the incessantly promoted Moms Like Me Web site and the assistant managing editor of operations, who performed the administrative functions in the newsroom.
The decision by The Gannett Co., The Enquirer's parent firm, for another round of layoffs comes as a surprise.
An Enquirer employee sent Hopkins an e-mail that stated: “(Publisher) Margaret Buchanan appeared in the newsroom about 5 p.m. Wednesday and announced there had been seven people laid off, two of those in the Local Information Center. She blamed a drop-off in retail advertising that she said began in June and has continued unabated. She said she has not heard anything about a first-quarter furlough."
One possible contributing factor for the layoffs is that ever-volatile newsprint prices are expected to increase by as much as 20 percent in coming months.
In 2009, 101 people were laid off at The Enquirer including the entire staff of CiN Weekly and opinion columnist Peter Bronson. In late 2008, the newspaper had another round of layoffs; additionally, it offered several employees a voluntary severance package last fall to reduce its payroll.
During the past two years, Gannett has required many non-unionized employees to take at least three five-day, unpaid furloughs to cut costs.
The Enquirer's troubles aren't unique; the entire U.S. newspaper industry is struggling as many readers migrate to free content on the Internet, sparking a related loss in advertising dollars spent on newspapers.