Monday, November 24, 2008

Jetcapade: Why GCI set a Dec. 3 layoff deadline

[Grand Hyatt hotel, seen in background, is likely venue for Gannett's big layoff announcement in two weeks. But will Corporate risk bad publicity by flying there aboard the company jet?]

Gannett is almost certain to send a delegation to a high-profile Wall Street media stock analysts meeting, scheduled to start two weeks from today at the glittering Grand Hyatt hotel in New York. CEO Craig Dubow (left) and other top executives will tell influential analysts there how much Gannett expects to save as a result of the mass layoff now underway across the company. The more savings Dubow can report, the more likely analysts will boost GCI's stock price.

Chief Financial Officer Gracia Martore alluded to this meeting during the third-quarter earnings conference call. But I didn't find details until today, when the sponsor -- Swiss investment bank UBS -- published a schedule for the event. (Gannett participated in last year's conference, which I live-blogged.)

The three-day Annual Global Media Conference is scheduled to start Dec. 8 -- five days after the Dec. 3 deadline by which Gannett hopes to have finished laying off up to 3,000 newspaper division employees.

By private jet -- or commercial coach?
Surely Corporate noticed what happened after the Big Three automakers flew their CEOs to Washington aboard private jets, seeking taxpayer bailouts last week. Didn't work out so well, did it? The same devastatingly bad press coverage awaits Corporate and other media kingpins traveling to New York by jet and limousine for the UBS event.

Indeed, I was told Dubow & Co. plan to visit The Indianapolis Star on Dec. 4 -- theoretically, the day after most of the layoffs there and elsewhere have been executed. (Have the painters started touching up the Star's lobby yet?)

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[Photo: Gannett's 1998 Dassault Falcon 2000, in a photo taken April 8, 2006. Since then, however, Corporate may have dumped it from the fleet, which is now down to a single jet]


  1. I amazes me that everyone allows Dubow to babble on, and say nothing substantial.

  2. That's a nice looking jet. Can I borrow it to cover an assignment 200 miles from here, Craig? You know to produce content for our multiple platforms???

    Staff wasn't able to cover the high school state championships this year, not enough resources. If I can cover it and use the jet I promise you 10 times more hits than the useless stringers we hired. If I don't deliver you can fire me, seriously.

    But Craig, can we fire you if you don't deliver? Never mind, you didn't deliver and you're still at the helm, King Craig.

  3. They need to lay off the ad director in Hattiesburg. She is useless!

  4. For those getting the ax:
    From today's NY Times
    For Laid-Off Journalists, Free Blog Accounts
    It’s a long way from $700 billion, but the media start-up Six Apart is introducing its own economic bailout plan.
    The TypePad Journalist Bailout Program offers recently terminated bloggers and journalists a free pro account (worth $150 annually) on the company’s popular blogging platform. In addition to the free yearly membership, the 20 to 30 journalists who are accepted will receive professional tech support, placement on the company’s blog aggregation site,, and automatic enrollment in the company’s advertising revenue-sharing program.
    Anil Dash, a former blogger and current vice president at Six Apart, announced the program Nov. 14, shortly after the company made its own staff cuts. Mr. Dash fired off a blog post: “Hello, recently-laid-off or fearful-of-layoffs journalist! We’re Six Apart (you know us as the nice folks who make Movable Type or TypePad, which maybe you used for blogging at your old newspaper or magazine) and we want to help you.”

  5. If McCorkindale and his family still have flight privileges, that's why GCI needs that jet.

  6. What is it about Advertising Directors? 2:10PM suggests getting rid of theirs, but it would be unfair to do that and leave in place the one from Bridgewater/East Brunswick, Cherry Hill and their little assistants who make Sarah Palin appear to be smart.

  7. Of course they'll use the corporate jet, that's what corporate jets are for.

  8. I wonder if the pilot's and crew are on the Layoff list ???

  9. Please do some research about the cost of filling all seats on a corporate jet vs flying commercial. I don't know the numbers, but there is a big difference between one passenger and a plane full.

  10. Wonder if they'll fly into Indy, the site where Gannett got a tax abatement and some other help?

  11. The layoffs are not happening at my site in the South until Dec. 10. No idea on the reason for the delay.

  12. Amateur plane spotters have logged this plane multiple times in Great Britain this summer and fall.

    Also the FAA shows GCI has a fractional share in a Cessna jet. Its flight records are not cloaked. I'm liking Nashville to Nantucket.

  13. 7:08 - you are an idiot. if it's true that gannett has a fractional share it does not follow that a trip from nashville to nantucket was a gannett trip. where's the information that shows both facts.

  14. All trips, I gather, would be booked under the tail number's owner -- NetJets, or whichever company it is?

  15. Only if you know the tail number for that day's trip, you cannot track a fractional owned Gannett trip. Tail numbers are assigned less than 24 hours in advance privately.

    And yes, although it might not look good in the media's eyes, it can still be cost effective for GCI to operate its own aircraft.

  16. Dubow and Martore should have to walk there.

  17. It was announced today that the Dec. 4th visit to Indy by Dubow & Co. has been postponed. No information was given as to when it would be rescheduled.


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