Atlanta Journal-Constitution to cut staff, sections
Newspaper to eliminate Gwinnett News, NorthSide, CityLife

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is cutting its staff by nearly 200 jobs and eliminating some targeted news sections, including its Gwinnett News section.

In addition to the Gwinnett News section, other discontinued sections include NorthSide, CityLife and NorthWest. To accommodate community coverage, the daily Metro and Sports sections will expand. The AJC will continue to have a staff of reporters located in North Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

Publisher John Mellott said the move, announced Wednesday, is a cost-cutting plan in the face of dwindling advertising revenues and steadily increasing fuel and newsprint costs.

"Over time, the costs to produce the community sections have become prohibitive," said Mellott. "Paper costs have risen 35 percent this year, and, since we drive 80,000 miles a day to deliver the AJC, fuel costs have also hit us hard."

Mellott said the job cuts will be mainly in news and advertising departments between August and October through voluntary buyouts and layoffs. The cuts represent about 8 percent of the 2,300-member staff.

All product changes will occur in August.

"These changes are difficult but necessary," Mellott said.

It's the second downsizing in two years at Georgia's largest newspaper. In February 2007, the Journal-Constitution announced it was offering contract buyouts to 80 newsroom employees and reducing its circulation area.