Newsroom employees at Gannett newspapers around the country recently lost their jobs in a major round of layoffs. Rich Jackson, senior executive editor of the Bloomington, Indiana, Herald-Times lost his home as well—and started the Homeless Editor blog in response. Jackson says that when he took the Herald-Times job 10 months ago, bosses set him up with an apartment in the same building as the newspaper. He says he was told on April 24 that his job was being eliminated and he had to be out of the apartment by noon on May 1. With nowhere else to go, he ended up checking into a Motel 6. "I went from someone to no one in 30 minutes," he writes. He jokes that he "thought about standing on a street corner with a sign: 'Will edit for beer.'"
Jackson says he is trying to make his savings last, as he's 54 and looking for a job "in what the Federal Reserve calls the worst economy in American history." A Gannett rep tells the New York Times that Jackson's job was cut because of last year's merger with GateHouse, not as a result of the pandemic. The Times notes that mergers like the Gannett-GateHouse deal have cut thousands of jobs from the already struggling newspaper industry—and since March, more than 30,000 media workers in the US have been laid off, furloughed, or suffered a pay cut. Jackson says he hopes to work in a newsroom again someday. He says since his blog gained widespread attention, friends around the country have offered help—and the Motel 6 owners offered him a free week. (Read more newspaper industry stories.)