Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Breaking: Tally hits 1,400 as mass layoff deepens

Gannett's nationwide newspaper downsizing has now claimed 1,400 jobs since yesterday morning, according to Gannett Blog reader accounts, plus new figures from Nashville (92 of 1,000 jobs cut); Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (59 of 250), and Greenville, S.C. (36 of 500).

Earlier today, two of the biggest worksites revealed their plans. The Des Moines Register is eliminating 74 of 801 jobs. And The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., said it's cutting 69 of its approximately 1,100 positions.

We've only accounted for 42 of the 85 community dailies, plus USA Today. Is your paper included? Please add your numbers and links to stories on our list, or in the comments section, below. Or e-mail confidentially via gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com].

[Image: today's front page, Newseum]

38 comments:

  1. Lansing State Journal cut its entertainment magazine NOISE, along with the four people dedicated to it. 8 in advertising, 2 at the printing plant and a reporter from the Customs Publication department also have been axed.

    Everyone told to clean out their desks immediately. More to come.

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  2. http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20081203/BUSINESS/81203024

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  3. Keep in mind that Louisville hosts the so-called Center of Excellence, which handles subscriber issues for much of the East Coast. Without the roughly 200 people in the COE, the site's overall layoff percentage would be higher.

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  4. 3:14.. Please explain. I thought the COE was considered a Non-Gannett entity and (maybe other than rental income) that the C-J received nothing from them. Just curious.

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  5. ha--that's funny--getting rid of the folks who we need to call to cancel our subs after we're canned.

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  6. layed off?

    they are short on the copy desk

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  7. What then is Cape Publishing?

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  8. Knilands clearly has no life, considering he sits around and starts flamewars in blog comment sections. Golly, I can't wait for him to call me gutless!

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  9. From a story published just now in desmoinesregister.com without a byline. Notice that none of the employees are named, not even Cartoonist Brian Duffy.

    "Register lays off 41 employees
    THE REGISTER • December 3, 2008
    The Des Moines Register is eliminating jobs for 41 employees because of worsening economic situations, publisher Laura Hollingsworth announced today.

    Another 15 open positions will not be filled, she said, and four employees volunteered for a severance package.

    Among the positions cut was the newsroom’s editorial cartoonist. The Register had claimed to be the only newspaper in the United States with an editorial cartoon on the front page. The tradition extended back to at least the early 20th century, according to Register archives. Ted Rall, the president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, estimated that about 20 editorial cartoonists have been laid off or retired in the last three years.

    In the Register’s weeklies division, which includes the Indianola Record-Herald and the Altoona Herald, there were an additional 14 employees impacted.

    The total employee impact translates to 6.9% of the company’s 801-member workforce, according to an e-mail from Hollingsworth to employees.

    All laid off employees will receive severance packages and benefits for up to 26 weeks.

    “Those employees who are leaving us in the coming days have made important and hard-working contributions to the Des Moines Register, many for a number of years,” Hollingsworth said. “We are grateful to them for all their service and we thank them for their impact to this company and to our communities.

    “The layoffs here and those going on throughout Gannett are difficult but necessary steps.”

    Gannett Co. said in October that it would cut about 10 percent of its staff across its U.S. community publishing division, which includes the Des Moines Register and the Iowa City Press-Citizen, citing the deepening national financial crisis.

    Robert J. Dickey, president of the community publishing division, said at that time in a letter to publishers and general managers that Gannett’s revenues continue to be severely impacted by the national downturn. Gannett said third-quarter earnings were down 33 percent

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  10. Des Moines: Two that I know of in IT, One in HR, Five in circulation (one voluntary). No idea about advertising, except that it went on all day.

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  11. Just ignore him/her and he/she will go away.

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  12. Is corporate ever going to help Lansing get a new ad director? In reading these posts today, those poor schleps sound like they need help. Then again, does corporate listen to anyone but themselves?

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  13. I don't think there's any hope for Lansings advertising dept. We lost a great manager today (RAM) and now have to report to Atilla and her Hun. Time to get the resume out there, I'm not sticking around for this.

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  14. Poughkeepsie's 59 is a combination of 14 layoffs/job eliminations today and 45 printing/distribution jobs that disappear when those functions go to Westchester.

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  15. Our publisher isn't laying anyone off. We've seceded.

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  16. 7:42 Please send info on seceeding. We'd like to join you.

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  17. How true, sad but true for Lansing.
    "..and now have to report to Atilla and her Hun.

    You know, people at corporate can't be completely deaf, dumb and blind to what is going on in Lansing. It is a complete mystery as to why nothing has been done over all these years. It's a shame about the RAM, but she would have ended up being driven into the ground by PJ.

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  18. Seceding?

    First, it helps if you're in a state nobody in the Crystal Palace has ever heard of - say, Utah.

    Then because NO ONE wants to visit your site, just stop sending the money in.

    It helps to have a motto. Try "Don't Tread On Me" or "29.9% Profit Is Enough For Us!" (or, "I love being married so much, I have six wives.")

    Hire more writers and fewer editors, more salespeople and fewer marketing specialists, fewer 'my door is open' managers, more "I have no door" trainers.

    Viva la revolucion!

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  19. "Atilla and her Hun" I love it! How descript. If you know good ole PJ and KH, you know exactly why the ad reps in Lansing are leaving. Priester - wake up and get rid of them already before you have no ad reps left to bring home the bacon. Stupid move to get rid of the only manager anyone liked.

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  20. Mountain Home escaped this round, so we hear, because they lost their press Nov. 9th to Springfield. So, Mountain Home is 0 people lost this time. The people that lost their jobs when the press went to Springfield had way, way over 20 years there. Word is the paper is constantly late, and subscribers are really getting angry. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it. But then again, I also heard at this site they let go their IT guy, THE ONLY ONE THEY HAD, so their entire IT department was wiped out, plus their Online Guy, of which their was only one. Brilliant business decision.

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  21. Anything new out of Cherry Hill?

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  22. From RGJ.com:
    (Reno, NV) -- The Reno Gazette-Journal is reducing its workforce by 61 positions over the next four weeks. The company will stop producing weekly publications in Douglas County and Fallon and will close its commercial printing facility, Eastern Sierra Publishing, in Carson City.

    The final editions of the Douglas Times and the Fallon Star Press will be Dec. 26.

    The changes are part of a workforce reduction announced Oct. 29 by Gannett, the RGJ’s parent company, in the wake of the nation’s economic downturn.

    “At a time where we need to be more nimble and strategic, it is necessary to focus on our most profitable areas of business and our core audiences,” President and Publisher Ted Power said.

    “We regret having to make these difficult business decisions, thank our employees for their contributions, our readers and advertisers for their loyalty. We trust that all of our readers and advertisers know that the RGJ remains committed to providing news and information for all of our communities in our many other print and digital products.”

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  23. A pretty poor choice in Lansing to get rid of the RAM, the one person that has any potential to turn things around in Lansing. Watch the mass exodus continue in Advertising. Please, please, get rid of the problems--PJ and KH.

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  24. In Greenville, 10 of the cuts were supposedly open positions, 10 were voluntary. 16 were non-voluntary. Its believed not all 16 have been identified.

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  25. Pensacola... 21 folks got the ax... more than was expected. It was one very sad day at the PNJ. Those folks will be missed. - many were very talented individuals and will hopefully go on to do much more exciting and rewarding work. Good luck from those left standing.

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  26. Those with long memories may remember when the Long Island Railroad wanted to get out of the passenger business. Federal regulations prohibited simply abandoning service. You had to show it was below a certain level of support. So they purposefully made the trains lousy so they could show the decline.

    If I were a "forward-thinking" newspaper executive, I would say: The only way to get enough people to stop taking the print paper that we don't have to print it anymore is make it so bad that no one wants it.

    Probably two-thirds of what draws people to a print paper -- the mix of things -- would not draw people to a local newspaper Web site. Editorial cartoons, big-league sports coverage by suburban papers -- who cares? It works for a newspaper, not a Web site.

    Is there stupidity and venality in the way these things are handled? Sure. Is the aim to make the print paper so bad that even the most diehard print reader will use online instead? Doubtless. Eliminate the cost of paper and ink, and you have a profitable company running local Web sites employing a few people in each town. What will people want from these Web sites? Lists of things to do on the weekend, briefs of school closings and traffic accidents during the day, and places to bitch about how their tax dollars are being wasted.

    But I don't think this is some long-held strategy on anyone's part to do this in 2008. Until the recession it was assumed print would have a reasonably graceful decline. At the current rate of ad decline print probably cannot pay for itself next year. But you still have those thousands and thousands of loyal customers.

    Best thing to do is to force them to be customers of your new product, even if it makes them get half the information they used to get from you from somewhere else. And as much as people may want to bitch about state government misusing their money, there's no way to monetize those stories. So why cover them?

    Yes, it's tragic, it's the end of people's lives in a wonderful profession, it is a blot on the civic consciousness and a weakening of democracy. And if someone would like to subsidize news coverage in the same disconnected way newspaper advertisers did in the 20th century, I'm sure even Gannett would be glad to fulfill their desires.

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  27. Clarion-Ledger in Jackson cut 33 positions, 11 involuntarily.

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  28. I lost my job at USA TODAY today. I am still in a state of stunned disbelief as I felt I was a versatile, respected and loyal employee. Judging from the outpouring from my now former coworkers, my layoff is a mystery to more people than just me. I will really miss the people I worked with. I tried to leave with dignity but must confess to being disoriented and so saddened this evening. It's not going to be easy to land on my feet at my age in this business. And I feel for all who are in similar situations. Our lives and the lives or those connected to us will be changed forever.

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  29. 10:41 PM
    Be sad. It's a natural reaction to what just happened. In time, though, I'm sure it will all make sense to you maybe.
    Sending hugs out your way!!!

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  30. The Sheboygan Press final tally today was 4 employees. 2 managers, a receptionist and an editor.

    As of March 15th the sheboygan press composing dept (12 people) are being "consolidated" into Green Bay facilities. Three new part-positions will be opened to deal with local scanning and obits.

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  31. I was one of the ones who didn't get the ax today, but I know down the road it is coming. I may have my job now, but for how much longer? It makes it very difficult to work, morale is at an all time low, there is no loyalty to a company that has no loyalty to its employees. I wish I was one of the ones let go, but a job in hand is worth more than the ones in the bush.

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  32. 10:41. Many of us who remain at the Crystal Palace share your pain and are baffled that most of those who deserved to be given the boot are still here drawing fat paychecks. You know who they are. Lazy, incompetent, overpaid loudmouths who do nothing for the newspaper or website and drag everyone else down. Shame on management for once again,failing to do the right thing.

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  33. what happenned at the bob dickey meeting today?

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  34. I heard 59 were let go at the Courier Post, most of them from the newsroom . . .

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  35. To the poster who goes by the name RKNIL: You are no longer welcome on this blog because you have abused your privileges. Please do not come back.

    To everyone else: Abusive posters can destroy blogs, message boards and other online forums. I choose to allow anonymous commenting because of this blog's sensitive topics. The best way to deal with abusive posters is to deny them the attention they crave. Please, IGNORE them!

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  36. I for one am eternally gratefull that the RAM in Lansing is gone. Now maybe we will get real help from MB and SH with thier hands untied, instead of the unending dribble and spin of her(RAM) self-serving "It is all about me" attitude.

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  37. 10:41, it is hard to leave with dignity when you were probably shown so much disrespect by those responsible for letting you go. Good luck to you.

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  38. Lansing State Journal is getting smaller and the management is getting meaner. They got rid of the people in management who inspired a team atmosphere and now they are left with ogres who crack the whip on frightened employees.

    The newspaper deserves to fail. Out of the ashes will raise community based news organizations.

    Once again the communities will come together to write their own newspapers in a team spirit. Not for money and dollars but for the love of the medium.

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