A tipster says ContentOne will become part of Corporate's Communications Department, headed by Vice President Tara Connell, as the newly launched web news and pagination system takes over Gannett News Service, under a plan disclosed yesterday. Such a move would shift under the public-relations function a significant amount of national news reporting firepower -- taking those resources from their historic editorial home, the News Department, now the domain of newly named Vice President Kate Marymont.
Under the reorganization, perhaps one-third of GNS jobs will be eliminated through buyouts and possible layoffs, I've been told. GNS staff learned of the changes during meetings yesterday; Corporate hasn't made an official announcement. Today's tip follows speculation since mid-November that Connell would be given a major ContentOne role.
Marymont announced some of the GNS changes in a memo to Gannett editors; I just obtained a copy. The memo doesn't say where ContentOne will sit in the company's hierarchy, however. "Please understand that ContentOne is being developed,'' she wrote. "Technology is being reviewed; structure is being debated. It will be developed over the months ahead and information will be shared throughout the process."
ContentOne 'next stage' in evolution
The memo continues: "These steps are part of Gannett’s ongoing transformation from a print-centric company to a full-service multimedia company. The next stage in that evolution is the creation of ContentOne, which will team new technology with journalists to deliver news and information where, when and how readers want it. It is cross-divisional, and is in the development stage. "
GNS has been effectively leaderless since its last full-time managing editor, Derek Osenenko quit in August 2007. Marymont's predecessor, Phil Currie, was only nominally in charge until his retirement last month, leaving GNS vulnerable to takeover.
The service now employs about 60 reporters, editors and other employees covering Congress and other national news for the company's 85 U.S. newspapers. The company launched GNS in 1943 as Gannett National Service. It won journalism's most coveted honor, the Pulitzer Prize for public service, in 1980.
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