Have the publishers all attended the Tara Connell School of Corporate Communications? I've now read countless we're-gonna-lay-you-off-suckas memos, sent over the past 24 hours to nervous staff at Gannett's 84 community newspapers.
Let me save you a lot of effort in the future. Employees want to know one thing at the top of your memos: How many of us will lose our jobs? For example, Publisher Randy Hammer's 250-word note to staff at the Asheville Citizen-Times can be boiled down to 11 words that I've highlighted in the fourth paragraph, below:
TO: Asheville staff
FROM: Randy Hammer
RE: Staff reductions
We’ve had many successes these past several months. But despite our readership gains and Web site growth, the nation’s economic downturn has hurt many of our businesses in Asheville and throughout the nation.
We’ve been affected and so has Gannett. The company announced today it is eliminating approximately 1,000 jobs in the Community Publishing division.
About 400 jobs that were open throughout the division have already been eliminated. That means about 600 people across all of Gannett’s newspapers and magazines will be laid off in the next week or two.
For the Citizen-Times, our number is still being finalized, but it appears that six of our more than 250 employees will be laid off. I expect to receive word about our final number next week and will do my best to keep everyone informed.
I realize how difficult this news is, especially in light of the excellent work everyone has been doing. But the economy doesn't appear as if it will turn around anytime soon.
I assure you we will work very hard to treat people who are laid off with dignity. I realize nearly everyone will have questions about what is happening. In the next few weeks, I will meet with each department so we can talk about it. But right now my priority and concern are the people who will be laid off. I expect to be able to give you an update by Wednesday of next week.
Earlier: Top GCI exec Clark-Johnson is quote-a-licious!
[Image: today's front page, Newseum]