Sunday, December 07, 2008

Toll punches through 1,900; big dailies still missing

Gannett has eliminated 1,904 newspaper jobs in a mass layoff that moved into high gear last week, a new Gannett Blog survey today shows, as employees who survived the cuts now look ahead nervously to vastly changed working conditions.

At the urging of readers, I've added positions lost from separately announced press shutdowns in Asheville, N.C., and Clarksville, Tenn. (left). Our survey now includes 67 of 85 newspapers in this layoff round.

Still, papers that are missing or have incomplete figures include three of the company's biggest individual employers: USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, and The Cincinnati Enquirer. Combined, those papers plus other worksites with missing figures employ as many as 5,500 of Gannett's approximately 30,000 newspaper employees.

Gannett has estimated it will have cut about 2,000 jobs at the mostly small papers in its community newspaper division, once this layoff round is done. That estimate would cover Cincinnati -- but not USAT or Detroit, because they're managed in a division of their own, subject to separate budget-cutting goals.

Survivor: 'No cavalry is coming'
Whatever the final tally, employees who escaped layoff now face a new reality. "Those left behind -- at medium and small properties, anyway -- are going to be crushed by the additional workload,'' Anonymous@12:20 p.m. wrote today in a new comment. "I already put 10 additional hours in this week (exempt; no OT, of course), and that was nothing, because the hard workers who were laid off had worked ahead as always. . . . This week, we will begin to feel the real loss, as it is all on us and no cavalry is coming."

There's more: "I am not looking for sympathy. I know I am extremely lucky to still have a paycheck, and I know any number of unemployed journos out there would change places w/me in heartbeat. I am just saying that being a survivor is going to be very rough indeed, and I don't believe we will stay on this melting iceberg very long."

We're tallying job cuts, paper-by-paper. Is yours included? Please post figures on our list, or in the comments section, below. You may also e-mail confidentially via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com].

[Image: today's Leaf-Chronicle front page in Clarksville, Newseum]


  1. I'll repeat something someone else posted a few weeks ago.
    Wage and hour---wage and hour---wage and hour.

  2. Cincy's number is thought to be 15, but since the staff wasn't informed how many/who were laid off, it's hard to say for sure.

  3. 1:36 p.m.: When I complained to a USA Today colleague that we didn't know which employees had taken buyouts late last year, she replied impatiently: You're a reporter; why don't you do you job and find out the answer? Why are you waiting for management to spoon-feed the information to you?

    She was right about that, and so I did a little shoe-leather journalism to eventually get the answer.

    Fast forward to today's Cincinnati Enquirer: I would be surprised if the total number jobs cut was only 15; that might be the newsroom alone. But there should still be another 150-200 reporters, editors and other journalists left behind. Are you telling me they can't figure out how many jobs in total the Enquirer has given up?

  4. If Brent Jones can give out specifics to a blogger----right down to saying how many minorities were hired at USAT----why are the other papers being so hush- hush about the exact numbers?

    Jim. Have you tried calling him?

  5. In Cincy, gone are:
    Business Editor
    News Editor
    Senior Designer
    Deputy Presentation Editor
    Night Photo Editor
    Assistant Communities Editor
    News Copy Editors (2)
    Features Copy Editor
    Metromix/Calendar Writer
    If it's true that the IC lost 15 positions, that leaves five mysteries.
    These people were supposedly immune from getting cut: reporters, photographers, online staff and buyout turndowns (from September).

  6. Jim, you're correct. Cincinnati may have lost 15 in editorial, but that number likely doesn’t even come close to the total number of people Buchanan terminated when one includes adv, circ, prod., etc.

    And, if Buchanan won’t publicly come clean about this with her employees and readers – something that many of her peers did, then what else is she capable of suppressing? Lots. Limiting a well-respected business editor to sign off this week in her final column by stating that her last day was this past Tuesday, with no explanation, confirms it.

    Perhaps that’s how Buchanan will explain the well-rumored, upcoming closure of a weekly newspaper to her employees and readers – “Final issue printed yesterday. Thanks”. Then again, that may be even too much.

  7. One of 10 laid off Friday at the Lafayett Journal and Courier was Tom Kubat, Indiana Hall of Fame sports writer.

    Here's his goodbye column:

    or view it at

    He is a classy guy and his final column reflects it.

  8. Who was Tom Kubat? The heart of the J&C sports department.

    From the website:
    Kubat has been a Journal and Courier sports writer for more than 30 years, covering Purdue football and basketball, auto racing and high school sports, and he is currently the beat writer for Purdue football. A native of Detroit, he graduated from Indiana University. Kubat has won numerous state and national awards for his sports writing and column work.
    Hall of Fame writer says goodbye after 40 years at the J&C

  9. 2:47 pm: I've e-mailed Brent Jones a time or two. I probably owe him another one. But, hey, Brent: If you're reading this, you are encouraged to leave a comment on this or any thread. Everyone's welcome at Gannett Blog!

  10. Please check out this cause, it's free on facebook.

    "Don't let the Newspaper Die"


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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