Tennessean overhauling newsroom

15% of jobs to go as part of 'beta' staffing project

The newsroom staff at The Tennessean is preparing for an overhaul that will involve more than a dozen job cuts and all editorial employees re-applying for their jobs.

The planned restructuring comes on the heels of news that Tennessean parent company Gannett will split its publishing division from its broadcast and digital operations. Officials with the morning daily say they are redefining the scope of reporting and editing positions and, among other things, plan to add writers covering University of Tennessee athletics as well as the retail and tourism sectors.

In a note to readers, Executive Director Stefanie Murray said the changes are a "reset" for the paper and added that the team "will use scientific principles even more than before to listen to what our readers want and act accordingly. In other words, our judgment will improve because our listening is improving." (Read Murray's piece here.)

Murray told WPLN that the newsroom headcount will be reduced by 15 percent from 89 to 76. The Tennessean will be one of five "beta" newsrooms in Gannett testing the new newsroom structure.

Murray also said Maria De Varenne, who had been executive editor, has been named news director and that David Anesta has been named consumer experience director. De Varenne has been with The Tennessean since late 2011, while Anesta had been creative director at the Gannett Design Studio, which produces the paper.