The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgias largest newspaper, said Thursday it is offering buyouts to up to 80 newsroom employees and plans to revamp its operations, including cutting its circulation area and focusing more on digital news.
The newspaper announced the changes after the voluntary buyouts were presented during the day to employees who are at least 55 years old and have more than 10 years at the paper.
In the buyouts, employees will receive two weeks of pay for each year worked at the paper, up to 52 weeks, spokeswoman Mary Dugenske said.
Effective April 1, the newspaper will no longer include Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and many parts of Georgia in its circulation territory. The paper had been delivered in 145 of Georgias 159 counties, but now will only be available in 66 counties in the state. The paper wont be found in cities like Augusta, Columbus, Savannah and Albany.
Publisher John Mellott said those areas only account for about 5 percent of the papers total circulation.
The changes will eliminate 44 circulation positions, with displaced workers offered severance packages, Mellott said. The paper also will end its relationship with 128 independent contractors who delivered the paper.
The newspapers parent company, Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises Inc., also will spend $30 million on upgrading its presses in suburban Gwinnett County, with plans to close the papers downtown Atlanta production facility in two years. Mellott said 98 production jobs will be shifted to the Gwinnett County facility or eliminated.